05 Sep 2019

USB4 promises a major update and 40Gbps speeds

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USB4 will use the same form factor as USB-C USB4 will use the same form factor as USB-C Shutterstock

After previewing the technology back in March, the USB Implementer’s Forum has provided details on the latest version of USB and it’s going to be fast.

Essentially, the publication of the spec doesn’t change much that we already knew about it. It is based on Thunderbolt and has the following stand out features:

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40Gbps operation over 40Gbps certified cables
  • Multiple data and display protocols that efficiently share the maximum aggregate bandwidth
  • Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3

So that’s an increase in speed without the hassle of coping with new connections as it will use the same USB-C connecter design as USB 3. 

The new information it does give us though is a timeframe for all this. With technical training on the new spec included in its upcoming USB Developer Days, we can confidently expect to see USB4 products in the wild by 2021, possibly even slightly earlier given that Thunderbolt is such a known quantity.


USB-C connector pic: shutterstock

Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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