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USB4 Version 2.0 announced: 80 Gbps data transfer using some existing USB-C cables

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The USB Promoter Group has announced the USB4 Version 2.0 specification. The new spec enables up to 80 Gbps data transfer rates using some existing USB Type-C cables. Further, the USB Power Delivery (PD) specs will be updated.

Provided that you have USB Type-C passive cables rated for 40 Gbps speeds, you’ll be able to take advantage of the new USB4 Version 2.0 specs and achieve 80 Gbps speed without purchasing newly defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.

‘Once again following USB tradition, this updated USB4 specification doubles data performance to deliver higher levels of functionality to the USB Type-C ecosystem,’ said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. ‘Solutions seeing the most benefit from this speed enhancement include higher-performance displays, storage, and USB-based hubs and docks.’

Additionally, the USB Promoter Group has also announced that the new standard includes updates to data and display protocols to better use the increased available bandwidth, including USB data architecture updates to enable USB 3.2 data tunneling in excess of 20 Gbps and updated version of DisplayPort and PCIe specifications. The updated USB4 solution also includes backward compatibility with USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3.

As noted by Ars Technica, USB-C naming conventions could become even more confusing with the new standard. Some existing USB-C cables can take advantage of the increased speeds offered by USB4 version 2.0, but not all cables. Even some USB4 cables may be capped at 20 Gbps. To know if a cable can handle 40 Gbps, and thus 80 Gbps, you must locate an optional logo or check specification pages. Unfortunately, the new logos haven’t been widely adopted so far.

Some readers over at MacRumors have commented that the USB4 Version 2.0 naming is odd and confusing. While some commenters wondered why the new spec isn’t called USB5, one user joked, ‘Just wait for USB4 Version 2.1 Mk III.’ However, overall, there’s optimism with the new standard. USB4 achieves a considerable amount using just a single cable. With USB4 Version 2.0, the increased speed will deliver even faster transfer speeds and better overall performance for many devices.

The USB Promoter Group will release more details about the USB4 Version 2.0 spec at the USB Developer Days 2022 Conference starting November 1 in Seattle, WA. At the event, detailed technical training for the latest updates to USB4, USB Type-C and USB PD specs will be offered. In mid-November, there will also be an event in Seoul, South Korea.



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