Announced earlier this year, USB-IF has signed off on the latest USB 4 standard, promising faster speeds. The most recent USB 3.2 still isn’t very commonplace, so it’s still going to take a while before we see products marketed with USB 4.
What’s new in USB 4? It doubles the peak data transfer rate from 20Gbps to 40Gbps. It implements the same dual-lane architecture as USB 3.2 but doubles the individual-lane transfer speeds to 20Gbps to reach a cumulative 40Gbps speed. Needless to say, you would need USB 4-certified cables to take advantage of these speeds.
Thunderbolt 3 has had 40Gbps speeds for a while now, but USB 4 has backward compatibility to USB 2.0. Since USB 4 is built on Thunderbolt 3, future hardware should be able to make use of the higher speeds on older Thunderbolt-compatible devices.
USB 4 aims to provide faster and more sustained transfer speeds even while using it for a high-resolution external display on your laptop. And finally, USB 4 supports 100W charging over the USB power delivery standard.
Users shouldn’t expect USB 4 devices or cables anytime soon, considering how slow the uptake of USB 3.2 is. Even Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor doesn’t support USB 3.2. On top of needing the compatible USB 4 devices and cables, users should expect it to surface after Q3 of 2020.