The “USB4” connection standard for computers and mobile devices was announced in September 2019. The official name of this technology is Universal Serial Bus, Version 4.
What exactly is the “USB4” standard? How does this USB port compare to the standard ones currently in use?
As opposed to previous USB versions, USB4 is entirely unique. There is no blank line before the version number in the new specification. The preferred shorthand is USB 4, but the correct name is USB4. To put it simply, this is not the same as the more common USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, etc.
Intel’s Thunderbolt protocol specification, which was donated to USB-IF, is the most notable addition to USB4. Supports multiple data and display protocols like PCI Express and DisplayPort thanks to tunneling transmission technology and dual-link operation, which doubles the transmission rate to 40Gbps.
If you’re interested in learning more about how USB4 has become the most complex USB standard to date, you can check out the full specification here: https://www.usb.org/document-library/usb4tm-specification.
The following are some of USB4’s most prominent characteristics:
- First, data transfer speed: USB4’s data transfer speed can reach 40 Gbps, thanks to the “Thunderbolt 3” data transfer technology developed by Intel and Apple in tandem. In addition to transmitting DisplayPort video, the speed is twice as fast as the recently released USB 3.2 (Gen22). Developed to pool several different protocols onto a single physical interface that can dynamically share USB4’s bandwidth and performance.
- USB Type-C is the only accepted connector for USB 3.1 Gen 4. The signal transmits over two channels, so older connectors like USB Type-A and Micro-B are incompatible with USB4.
- It can supply up to 100W of power, allowing you to run high-powered equipment and improve your power management.
- Compatibility: Backwards-compatible with older USB standards (USB 1.0, USB 2.0, USB 3.1, etc.) and “Thunderbolt 3” ready (if so equipped).
In 1996, the USB 1.0 specification was made public. The data transfer rate is adjustable between 1.5 Mbps and 12 Mbps. The 480 Mbps, 5Gbps, 10Gbps, 20Gbps, etc. speeds that were later released later became supported.
The latest revision of the USB4 specification, which adds support for both 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps, was released in September 2019. For more information on the history of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard and its logo, see the accompanying diagram.
For multiple purposes to be accomplished over a single data cable, USB4 defines the 40Gbps standard that can dynamically share bandwidth.
In addition to the standard USB functionality and power delivery (via USB PD), USB4 also allows for the simultaneous transmission of PCIe and display data. A Type-C interface will eventually allow for the connection of nearly all external devices, such as fast networks, external graphics cards, high-definition displays, large-capacity, high-speed storage devices, and even one machine to another. Additional devices can be connected in parallel or offshoot from these ones thanks to the USB4 Hub functionality that some of these gadgets have.
In September of 2020, the USB Promoter Forum published the USB 4 specification, but it’s possible that no products based on this standard will hit the market until the following year.