USB 4 will bring faster data speeds than ever

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Data connectivity will soon be faster than ever with the announcement of a new USB standard.

USB 4 was revealed in new rulings by the official USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) this week, marking the next generation of the well-known cable connector.

Although full details of exactly what USB 4 can achieve won't be made public until later this year, its expected that the new generation will allow data transfer speeds of up to 40GBps.

This is double the current offering by the leading specification, the new USB 3.2 version announced last week, which can provide up to 20GBps, and equivalent to the speeds offered by Thunderbolt 3.

Intel has today backed this announcement by making its Thunderbolt protocol available to the USB promoter group, making it open to any company looking to integrate the function into their silicon.

“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers," said Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel.

The news means that Thunderbolt 3 features will be part of the new design, with USB 4 being backwards-compatible with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. The Thunderbolt 3 integration also means it should deliver up to 100W of power and support multiple 4K displays.

The USB Promoter Group says it is working with over 50 leading device manufacturers to finalise the specification, with final details set to be published mid-2019.

“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman.

“The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”

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