USB4 Version 2.0 to enable speeds of up to 80 Gbps, introduce “active” USB cables

The USB Promoter Group has just pushed a press release about the “pending release” of the USB4 Version 2.0 specification that promises up to 80 Gbps of data performance over the USB Type-C cable and connector. The group also explains both the USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery (USB PD) specifications will also be updated, and everything will be published right before the USB DevDays developer events planned for November 2022 in the US and South Korea.

USB4 Version 2 80Gbps
Not an official logo, just CNXSoft playing with GIMP 🙂

So that’s basically an announcement about a future announcement, but we were still provided with some highlights of the upcoming USB4 v2 specification:

  • Up to 80 Gbps operation based on a new physical layer architecture, using existing 40 Gbps USB Type-C passive cables and newly-defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.
  • Updates to data and display protocols to better use the increase in available bandwidth.
    • USB data architecture updates now enable USB 3.2 data tunneling to exceed 20 Gbps.
    • Updated to align with the latest versions of the DisplayPort and PCIe specifications.
  • Backward compatibility with USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3.

So in the future, you may find yourself having to ask “do I have a passive or active USB Type-C cable?” although we’re told both can support up to 80 Gbps, and USB 3.2 will not be limited to 20 Gbps anymore. But not to worry, as we are told that “branding and marketing guidelines will be updated in the future to include USB 80 Gbps both for identifying certified products and certified cables”.

The only problem is that most manufacturers are not using those, and most are writing USB 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 interchangeably in specifications due to the new way USB interfaces are named since the old USB 3.0 was renamed USB 3.1 Gen1 at one point, and is now called USB 3.2 Gen 1×1. That’s why all mini PC reviews on CNX Software now include a USB speed test mostly to determine which port runs at 5Gbps, 10Gbps, or 20 Gbps. USB Type-C ports are fun to work with too since the USB version is often not mentioned at all. Some companies are also misnaming their products as USB 4.0 SSD enclosures since they can reach 40 Gbps when they are actually hybrid devices with Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 chips.

Anyway, we’ll learn more about USB4 Version 2.0 in a few months with USB Developer Days 2022 events scheduled on November 1-2 in Seattle, WA, and November 15-16 in Seoul, South Korea.

Via Liliputing

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14 Replies to “USB4 Version 2.0 to enable speeds of up to 80 Gbps, introduce “active” USB cables”

  1. Sounds awful as usual.

    Some or all of the passive 40 Gbps cables can do 80 Gbps unidirectional for DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0. It would be funny if a new DisplayPort version doubled bandwidth to 160 Gbps and became available on these cables.

  2. Oh, no that’s bad. Active cables are bad idea. It’ll make big mess.
    Are we not, where the two chips on both ends of the cable can ID themselves and know what to do transparently for the user?
    USB Type-C should replace HDMI and DisplayPort ASAP.

    1. Depends on what you mean by active surely? I’ve used active signal boosted cables for long HDMI runs and they’ve worked well where passive hasn’t.

    2. Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand the limitations of current cables. Everyghing is moving towards active cables, at least everything over 1 meter or so.

  3. But we are in a never-ending chip shortage. Yeah, never mind that – all cables must now be active – so we can charge more for them. But… oh never mind.

  4. All the people complaining about active cables being needed for 80Gb/s need to go back to physics class and learn what they missed the first time.

  5. It’s like people are afraid we will run out of numbers. USB4v2 is dumb. USB 5 would be better since it’s substantively different. USB4.1 as a worst case scenario.

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