Unlike USB 3, which has “enjoyed” multiple and complicated revisions throughout its existence, USB 4, which has been on the market for several years now, is not proving to be so popular. The USB4 standard is compatible with Intel’s Thunderbolt, and the next generation, USB 4 v2, could be twice as fast as the current one. The good news is that some accessories could remain compatible, despite the doubling of speed.
USB 4 v2 standard to be finalised this year
The USB 4 standard uses the USB Type-C port as standard and achieves speeds of up to 40 Gbps, just like Thunderbolt 3. However, these ports are not found on very many devices on the market. The most popular are Apple’s MacBooks, which offer USB4-compatible Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The USB Promotor Group, the entity in charge of developing this standard, has announced that it is working on USB 4 version 2, which will use the same USB-C port and connectors as USB 4 “v1”. USB 4 v2 will allow transfer speeds to double, from 40 to 80 Gbps, and existing passive cables should remain compatible and allow full speed without any problems. Despite this, the group will still develop a new standard for active, powered cables to be clearly marked as compatible with 80 Gbps speeds.
The new USB 4 v2 standard will remain compatible with previous versions of the connectivity protocol, being able to plug USB 2, USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3 devices into such ports. It seems that even the new DisplayPort and PCI-Express standards will be integrated into USB 4 v2, allowing higher resolution and higher frequency displays to be displayed directly through this port, as well as connecting video cards or other PCI-Express accessories to laptops.
Final specifications for the USB 4 v2 port will be announced this November. But it will most likely be a few years before we see compatible products on the market, such as computers with this integrated port and accessories that take advantage of the high bandwidth.