The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced that the USB 3.2 specification will be released shortly. It is in its final draft review phase, with a planned formal release in time for the USB Developer Days North America event, 26-27th September 2017. USB 3.2 is designed to deliver "the next level of performance," twice the bandwidth of USB 3.1 over existing USB Type-C cables.
It is explained that USB 3.2 is an incremental update to the specification which "defines multi-lane operation for new USB 3.2 hosts and devices". While the original USB standard was designed as a single lane solution, USB Type-C cables were designed to support multi-lane operation for scalable performance.
New USB 3.2 hosts and devices can now be designed as multi-lane solutions, allowing for up to two lanes of 5Gbps or two lanes of 10Gbps operation. End users can thus enjoy an effective doubling of performance across existing cables. In an example given by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group; "a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps".
Last but not least, end users can reap the benefits of new USB 3.2 devices, namely the greater speed and bandwidth, while remaining compatible with USB 3.0 and earlier devices. Of course, a new USB 3.2 host must be used with a new USB 3.2 device and the appropriate certified USB Type-C cable to enjoy the headline speed and bandwidth advances.
Key characteristics of the USB 3.2 solution include:
- Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables,
- Continued use of existing SuperSpeed USB physical layer data rates and encoding techniques,
- Minor update to hub specification to address increased performance and assure seamless transitions between single and two-lane operation.