The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the collective who develops the standard, has announced that USB 3.2 will introduce “multi-lane operation.” What does this mean? Data transfer over USB-C will be twice as quick, assuming you have a compatible device and cable…

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It does this by allowing up to two lanes of 5Gbps or two lanes of 10Gbps operation simultaneously.

New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This enables platform developers to continue advancing USB products to fit their customers’ needs by effectively doubling the performance across existing cables.

The obvious downside to this announced upgrade is that once the USB 3.2 standard is finalized, USB Type-C-powered devices will be in need of a hardware upgrade to use it. Thankfully, the USB-C cables that have already been certified and sold up to this point will work with the updated standard.

Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman, had this to say about the situation:

When we introduced USB Type-C to the market, we intended to assure that USB Type-C cables and connectors certified for SuperSpeed USB or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps would, as produced, support higher performance USB as newer generations of USB 3.0 were developed. The USB 3.2 update delivers the next level of performance.

Don’t get too excited just yet, though, as USB 3.2 is not yet finalized and isn’t expected to be until later this year. Hopefully, we’ll hear more about it at USB Developer Days event in September.

Press Release:

USB 3.0 Promoter Group Announces USB 3.2 Update

Specification defines doubling bandwidth to extend existing USB Type-C™ cable performance

July 25, 2017 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

BEAVERTON, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced the pending release of the USB 3.2 specification, an incremental update that defines multi-lane operation for new USB 3.2 hosts and devices. USB Developer Days 2017 will include detailed technical training covering USB 3.2, fast charging advancements in USB Power Delivery, and other exciting topics.While USB hosts and devices were originally designed as single-lane solutions, USB Type-C™ cables were designed to support multi-lane operation to ensure a path for scalable performance. New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This enables platform developers to continue advancing USB products to fit their customers’ needs by effectively doubling the performance across existing cables. For example, a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C™ cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.

While USB hosts and devices were originally designed as single-lane solutions, USB Type-C™ cables were designed to support multi-lane operation to ensure a path for scalable performance. New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This enables platform developers to continue advancing USB products to fit their customers’ needs by effectively doubling the performance across existing cables. For example, a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C™ cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.

“When we introduced USB Type-C to the market, we intended to assure that USB Type-C cables and connectors certified for SuperSpeed USB or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps would, as produced, support higher performance USB as newer generations of USB 3.0 were developed,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. “The USB 3.2 update delivers the next level of performance.”“With increased performance and seamless compatibility, the new USB 3.2 specification

“With increased performance and seamless compatibility, the new USB 3.2 specification brings even more speed and bandwidth benefits to new USB 3.2 devices, while remaining compatible with USB 3.0 and earlier devices,” said Roanne Sones, General Manager, Strategy and Ecosystem for Windows and Devices, Microsoft. “We’re excited to work with our partners in the USB 3.0 Promoter Group to help showcase these benefits to users around the world.”

Key characteristics of the USB 3.2 solution include: Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C™ cables

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C™ cables
  • Continued use of existing SuperSpeed USB physical layer data rates and encoding techniques
  • Minor update to hub specification to address increased performance and assure seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation

For users to obtain the full benefit of this performance increase, a new USB 3.2 host must be used with a new USB 3.2 device and the appropriate certified USB Type-C™ cable. This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and is specifically targeted to developers at this time. Branding and marketing guidelines will be established after the final specification is published. The USB 3.2 specification is now in a final draft review phase with a planned formal release in time for the USB Developer Days North America event in September 2017.


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