On Monday, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group comprising Apple, HP, Microsoft and other tech firms announced a new spec called USB 3.2 to double data transfer speeds.
For those of us who invested in USB Type–C cables, the new spec might well justify that spend by doubling the speed. USB-C, as a single connectivity option, can charge your phone, laptop, Bluetooth speaker and Nintendo Switch console. But the voltage requirements and specifications for data transfer vary between devices. To address this issue, the USB Promoter Group has come up with a new specification USB 3.2 – it will support multi-lane operations, allowing the device to utilize all the lanes at the same time unlike USB 3.1 using only two lines.
According to the Promoter Group, USB 3.2 should double the transfer speed of USB-C cables. Current cables qualified for USB 3.1 generation 1 at 5 Gbps will be able to operate at 10 Gbps and generation 2 10 Gbps cables will be able to run at 20 Gbps.
Now, the main challenge is with your device. If it won’t support USB 3.2, you’ll need a brand new device at each end of the cable to make it work. On the other hand, if your device complies with the specification, then you can rest assured that it will simply work.
When you get into the details of how it works, it’s pretty simple. One of the captivating features of USB Type-C is that it may be used beyond just USB signaling; other protocols such as DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 can use the same port and equivalent cabling. To support this function, the ports and cables have four pairs of wires for high-speed data transmission. USB 3.1 uses only two wires for transmitting and receiving data, and the other two wires remain unused.
The new spec USB 3.2 will allow the USB device to use all four pairs concurrently to get much higher speeds. Double, as we’ve seen.
The new specifications for USB 3.2 will be finalized in September. For now, it looks like a small update by getting the wires to work together, but we can expect more news towards the official launch.