THE USB IMPLEMENTERS FORUM (USB-IF) has, in preparation for the arrival of USB 3.2, announced plans to make the current USB naming system even more awful.
USB 3.2, which doubles the maximum speed of a USB connection to 20Gbps, is likely to start showing up in systems later this year, with USB-IF confirming at MWC that 3.2-capable controllers will be available later in 2019.
To prepare for the standard's arrival, the not-for-profit organisation has revealed new USB branding that's undoubtedly going to create confusion for PC buyers. Strap in, reader, this is about to get confusing.
USB 3.1 Gen 1, which offers 5Gbps data transfer speeds, will now be known as USB 3.2 Gen 1, while USB 3.1 Gen 2, which delivers 10Gbps speeds, will henceforth be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2.
Ports and devices carrying the new, er, 3.2 standard and its 20Gbps data transfer speeds will be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2.
To muddy the waters even further, there will be new consumer marketing names for each standard, too. USB 3.2 Gen 1 will be branded "SuperSpeed USB", USB 3.2 Gen 2 will be "SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps'" and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 will be "SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps".
Still following us? No, us neither. Maybe USB-IF can clear things up.
"SuperSpeed Plus, Enhanced SuperSpeed and SuperSpeed+ are defined in the USB specifications," it says in its USB 3.2 specification guidelines, "however, these terms are not intended to be used in product names, messaging, packaging or any other consumer-facing content.
While the USB-IF outlines just how important it is for manufacturers to indicate clearly how fast the USB device or port is, the scheme will no doubt be exploited by PC manufacturers; there's nothing stopping them from marketing a device's "USB 3.2" port and failing to state how much bandwidth it will provide to the user.
The good news is that two years after it was first announced, USB 3.2 - or, er, "SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps" is finally on its way to devices. As well as faster 20Gbps speeds, which is achieved by placing another 10Gbps data transfer channel within the connector, the standard will be backwards compatible with "all" exciting USB products. µ
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