USB 3.2 is coming with a super-fast speed but a confused name

super-fast usb 3.2

When it comes to the technology world, one problem that always gets linger on is its naming convention. Technology is a work in progress; things are always being reshaped into a better state. Alongside every improvement, is the name that must be assigned. Names are always given to latest products just to make them stand out. Like we have Microsoft Windows evolving over the years from Windows 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, 7, 8, and most recently Windows 10. One might ask, can there be a stopped to this naming convention? By using Microsoft Windows as a case study here. No, technology has no final destination and as long as the company exists and O.S (operating system) is still needed in computers. Microsoft will continue to upgrade its Windows O.S and give it a new name each time.

The big question

What would you say to an already named technology being given a new name even though the technology remains the same? Confused! right? That is the case of the forthcoming USB 3.2 which is finally coming out this year but causing older versions a change to their names.

Who is behind all this confusion?

An independent technology standard group known as USB Implementers Forum or USB-IF for short is behind the confusion. Their excuse or explanation judging from the recent criticism they are being faced with is that they are exploring some improvements to target overall simplification. Although the irony is, the USB 3.2 specifications are meant to avoid confusion but in reality, it actually make things more complicated for both consumers and manufacturers.

super-fast usb 3.2

The latest super-fast USB 3.2

The new super-fast USB 3.2 is the next-generation USB standard expected to be available on devices later this year. It is expected to double the maximum speed of the previous generation to achieve a 20Gbps transfer rate. This is achieved by using two lanes of 10Gbps at once without the reduction of its cable length.

What is the confusion?

With the introduction of USB 3.2 which now caused previous generations to bear the same name as USB 3.2 is posing confusion in identifying one from another. Although the previous technologies now have their generation attached to its names for easy differentiation. Still, it isn’t making it an easy feat either.

The USB-IF’s confusion makes each new specification absorbs the previous generations as included within that spec. This is their way of keeping things relatively consistent. Hence, when USB 3.1 came out, the previous USB 3.0 spec became USB 3.1 Gen 1. While the new, faster 3.1 was USB 3.1 Gen 2.
For better understanding, here is a breakdown of the various generations.

  • The original USB 3.O with a transfer data of up to 5Gbps and was previously renamed to USB 3.1 Gen 1, is now USB 3.2 Gen 1.
  • USB 3.1 with a speed at up to 10Gbps and later named as USB 3.1 Gen 2, is now USB 3.2 Gen 2.
  • Finally, the new USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 is the latest and fastest spec, promising a speed at up to 20Gbps.

Aftermath of the confusion

USB-IF wants everyone to use its more human-friendly terms for easy identification. USB 2.0 will be identified as USB Hi-speed, and the new super-fast USB 3.2 will cover the 3 version variations. Giving them a new name as USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps, USB SuperSpeed 10Gbps, and USB SuperSpeed 20Gbps.

When will products start rolling out the latest USB 3.2?

It is not known exactly when this year, we’ll see laptops, cell phones, and other devices bearing ports capable of USB 3.2 2X2 transfer speeds. Nevertheless, manufacturers are expected to start the adoption of the new naming conventions for current and upcoming products to identify the various 5, 10, or 20Gbps USB 3.2.

Final words

Although, the new super-fast USB 3.2 will make connectivity more seamless than its predecessors. But the confusing part would be, USB 3.2 could mean 5, 10, or 20Gbps. Nevertheless, manufacturers are going to exploit this wherever and whenever they can. This is a major concern and the USB-IF does emphasize on manufacturers the importance of honestly listing their hardware capabilities in marketing. Still, it is left on the consumers to check to see if they are getting the real USB 3.2 speeds or just rebranded older specs.

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Team techablaze

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