USB is about to get even faster, and it will do so using your existing cables

True to past form, the USB world is about to get even more incomprehensible. Just when USB4 was helping us forget the USB 3.1/3.2/Gen1/Gen2 headache, the USB Promoter Group announced the upcoming release of USB4 Version 2.0 (side note – apparently the spelling is fine USB4, not USB 4. Consistency has never been a major concern when it comes to USB naming/numbering convention).

(Image credit: future)

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Where the original USB4 standard allowed transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, the new version 2.0 revision theoretically doubles that figure to 80 Gbps using a new “physical layer architecture”. Additionally, this speed boost is possible while using existing 40 Gbps “passive” Type-C USB cables. However, the USB Promoter Group also reveals that dedicated 80Gbps “active” cables are also in development. Why these would be needed if existing 40Gbps cables can already be “overclocked” to transfer at 80Gbps is still unknown – we suspect that new cables might be able to sustain higher speeds for longer, or might simply be future-proof to handle even higher transfer speeds?

Besides a 2x increase in raw data throughput, new benefits of USB4 version 2.0 also include “updates to data and display protocols to better utilize the increased available bandwidth” , as well as “updates to the USB data architecture [which] now allow USB 3.2 data tunneling to exceed 20 Gbps”. We can also expect the latest version to be backwards compatible with the original USB4 standard (now called USB4 Version 1.0), USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 .

(Photo credit: Panasonic)

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At this point, we can safely assume that we won’t be seeing cameras that support USB4 Version 2.0 for some time, as camera USB interface technology tends to lag behind that of desktop computers. and portable. Take, for example, the Nikon D7500. Released in 2017, it still made do with a USB 2.0 connection, six years after the introduction of USB 3.0.

Even laptops and desktop computer motherboards with USB4 (version 1.0) haven’t been around for long, so don’t expect to see machines with USB4 version 2.0 anytime soon either.

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