USB 3.2 spec pushes bandwidth up to 20 Gbps

— 1:00 PM on July 26, 2017

The Universal Serial Bus is about to become a little bit less "serial." The USB 3.0 Promoter Group just announced the USB 3.2 specification—a new standard that's pretty similar to USB 3.1, except that it defines multi-lane operation modes. That means USB 3.2 devices can have two lanes operating on the same cable, each running at 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps, for a total throughput of 10 Gbps or 20 Gbps.

The best part about this news is that while USB 3.2 support will only appear on new devices (as usual), it doesn't actually require new cables. Your existing USB Type-C cables will (probably) work with USB 3.2 devices in full 20 Gbps mode, since they were designed from the beginning to support multi-lane operation. Just make sure your cables are up to spec.

The final throughput of USB 3.2 comes out to over 2 GB/sec. That amount of bandwidth is half that of Thunderbolt 3, a figure that's likely related to the fact that both specs use the same cabling. The USB 3.2 specification isn't finalised yet, so this is pretty much all the information we have. Full details of the specification should be released at the USB Developer Days event in September.

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