The USB standard is getting more complicated with USB4 Version 2.0 - Specifications and more

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The USB4 Version 2.0 specification has been announced (Image via USB Promoter Group)

The USB Promoter Group has announced the USB4 Version 2.0 specification.

The updated specification offers several improvements over the previous version, including increased performance, compatibility, and flexibility. This is the latest in a long line of USB standards that have been developed by the USB Promoter Group.

USB 4.0 Version 2: same cable, twice the performance

The announcement of the USB4 Version 2.0 specification is the next biggest after the release of the 3.2 specification.

What is USB4 Version 2.0?

The goal of the USB4 Version 2.0 specification is to provide a single, scalable standard that can be used by all devices that support the Universal Serial Bus. This includes everything, from laptops and desktops to phones and tablets.


The biggest change in the 2.0 specification is the move to a two-lane operation. This means that data can be transferred in both lanes simultaneously, doubling the potential data transfer rate, from the existing 40 Gbps to a blazing 80 Gbps.

Another major change is increased compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 devices. Thunderbolt 3 is a high-speed interface developed by Intel that uses both PCI Express and DisplayPort protocols. It offers data transfer rates of up to 40 Gbps, making it one of the fastest interfaces available today.

Importance and relevance of USB4

The biggest benefit of the USB4 Version 2.0 specification is the increased performance. The move to a new physical layer architecture has opened up the doors to up to 80 Gbps operations, based on the existing 40 Gbps platform.

The new standard is based on the same hardware but will now be featuring β€œactive cables.” This means that the physical cables will be the same as the previous gen but will feature an analog to the digital converter on both ends.

Additionally, the new standard is designed to more efficiently use the available bandwidth, which was previously left on the table. This will ensure efficient data transfer to high-performance displays with high-quality and high-refresh rates. Ultra-fast storage, hubs, and docks will also benefit from this standard.

The new generation is also targeting better and higher power delivery across the platform. The benefits of this shift include increased flexibility and compatibility.

The new generation will also be able to work with older devices, which include the Mini DisplayPort (MDP) and all the previous versions and generations.

Key features

Some of the key features of the new USB specification include:-

  • Increased Bandwidth: USB4 Version 2.0 offers increased bandwidth over the previous USB 3.2 standard. It supports data transfer rates of up to 80 Gbps (which is twice as fast as USB 3.2), using existing 40 Gbps USB Type-C passive cables and new 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.
  • Improved Power Efficiency: USB4 Version 2.0 is more power efficient than its predecessor. It uses the Type-C connector, which is more compact and easier to use than the older Type-A and Type-B connectors.
  • More Device Support: USB4 Version 2.0 supports a wider range of devices than USB 3.2, including Thunderbolt 3 devices, DockPort devices, and DisplayPort displays.


Sadly, there is a long way to go before the USB4 Version 2.0 specification will see the light of day. As of now, the release is only limited to developers, who will be trained on the latest updates to the specifications, Type C, and power delivery specs.

More details will likely emerge at the developer events set to be hosted by the USB Promoter Group on November 1 and 2. The official integration of the new standard and certification can take up to a year.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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