USB4 on the horizon

Strangely, we are seeing a lot of news about upcoming launches in the USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard, created in 1996 and already a bit outdated. Recently, I was writing about USB 3.2 and the mess with identifications, now we have an announcement of upcoming version 4. Quick presentation of the objectives of this version was driven by Intel, naturally as a member of the USB Promoter Group, but also as the developer of its proprietary Thunderbolt standard. The opening of that standard to other specifications streamlined the work on USB 4. A smart move by Intel, unable to win the market with Thunderbolt; because USB 4 is based on Thunderbolt 3 protocol, it has a guaranteed increase of the number of vendors and devices supporting both standards.

What is the advantage of USB 4 for us – users? The details are not yet available; they will probably be published with the USB Developer Days around the middle of the year, but we already know that the intended bitrate is at 40Gbps (with the use of certified cables) and should be backward compatible with USB 2.0, 3.2, and Thunderbolt 3. The port standard will almost certainly be USB Type C.