The next USB standard will double existing speeds even with an older cable

There’s a super-fast new version of USB 4 on the horizon, and you won’t even have to buy a new cable to take advantage of it. The USB Promoters Group that the next-generation USB version 2.0 standard is “pending release” and will double the bandwidth of existing USB 4 connectors, from 40 Gbps to 80 Gbps.

Surprisingly, the new standard is also backward compatible with previous USB 4 cables. This means that existing 40Gbps-capable USB-C cables will also get faster speeds when the new standard becomes available. From the press release: “Key features of the updated USB4 solution include: Up to 80 Gbps operation, based on a new physical layer architecture, using existing Newly Defined 40Gbps USB Type-C Passive Cables and 80Gbps USB Type-C Active Cables.”

The USB promoter group did not explain the details of how this is possible, but a spokesperson for the organization the edge it was “a requirement when the new specification was developed and details on how 80 Gbps signaling is achieved will be disclosed once the final specification is published.”

It’s not yet clear when the new standard will actually reach consumers. In its press release, USB Promoter Group said that the “update is aimed specifically at developers at this time,” so it could still be some time before the rest of us can get computers with the new super-fast connector.

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