USB 3.2 announced, to support up to 20 Gbps transfer speed

The USB Promoters Group, a kind of body that oversees the development of USB announced an upgrade to the USB 3.1 standard. Dubbed USB 3.2, the standard will make use of USB Type-C cables and will support multi-lane transfers allowing for theoretical maximum transfer speeds of up to 20 Gbps.

The official press release notes that while the USB standard was initially designed for single-lane serial transfers (hence the name), it has been upgraded to support dual-channel data movement. The USB Type-C upgrade was introduced to that regard and the new standard will work only on Type-C cables since the existing Type-A and Type-B cables are too narrow to accommodate multiple wires. Up to two lanes can be added in a USB cable, each capable of 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps data transfer speeds. The release notes that data exchange should be possible at an upper limit of 2 GB per sec.

For now, the detailed specification documents of the standard are being drafted and the group is expecting things to be ready for the upcoming USB Developer Days event to be held between Sep 26-27 in Canada. This is also where the USB Implementers Forum plans to showcase, market and train attendees in the nitty-gritties of USB 3.2 following which it can then be added to upcoming devices.

Partners are looking forward to working on USB 3.2. Said Roanne Sones, General Manager of Strategy and Ecosystem for Windows Devices. “With increased performance and seamless compatibility, the new USB 3.2 specification brings even more speed and bandwidth benefits to new USB 3.2 devices, while remaining
compatible with USB 3.0 and earlier devices. We’re excited to work with our partners in the USB 3.0 Promoter Group to help showcase these benefits to users around the world.”

Of course, to achieve that levels of data transfer speeds is going to require ports on both sides to be USB 3.2 along with a Type-C cable, failing which the standard will fall back to lower speeds of the backwards compatible standards. With such transfer speeds, expect SSDs to become increasingly common in use in the near future.