To USB or Not to USB


USB 4.0 – Coming Soon

Updates for March 11, 2019 in italics

On Monday, March 4, the USB Promoter’s group announced a new USB standard – USB 4.0.USB 4.0 enables multiple streams of data and video over a single USB Type-C cable at up to 40 Gbps

The USB Promoters Group consists of 7 companies developing products with USB capabilities. Their technical experts continue to architect the future of USB.

USB 4.0 will be backward compatible supporting all speeds including USB 3.2 and 2.0 speeds.
Existing devices will be able to connect to new USB 4.0 devices using USB Type-C connectors.
So everything you have at home, should work. Especially if it has earned the USB logo
Our best guess is this newest specification will be released sometime in summer 2019 to the public. This is the pattern with previous specifications authored by the Promoters Group

Some background to clarify nomenclature:

The USB standards as they emerge supercede or take over the previous standards.
For example, at this moment the current specification is the USB 3.2 specification, so all devices getting certification logos must pass the USB 3.2 logo certification tests under the USB 3.2 specification.

In real life, consumers and chip makers think of
USB 1.1 as Low Speed USB (like keyboards or mice)
USB 1.1 as Full Speed USB (speakers, headsets, printers)
USB 2.0 as Hi-Speed (web cameras, thumb/flash drives, CD- drives (remember those?), DVD drives)

USB 3.0 as SuperSpeed USB functioning at up to 5 Gbps), also capable of the USB 2.0 speeds
USB 3.1 as SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, and also capable slower speeds.
USB 3.2 as SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps, and also capable of older/slower speed modes.

In fact USB 3.0 is formally called USB 3.2 Gen 1 which is a single lane of 5 Gbps traffic.
USB 3.1 is called USB 3.2 Gen 2 x1 which is a single lane of 10 Gbps over a cable length of about 1m,
USB 3.2 is called USB 3.2 Gen 2 x2 which is 2 lanes of 10 Gbps over a cable length of about 1m.

USB 3.2 also supports 2 lanes of 5 Gbps across a cable of 2-3 meters.

To keep it simple, we stick with our current conventions. When consumers are buying, they need to look carefully to make sure that the device they are buying is capable of the speeds they want/expect.

One last thing, the Power Delivery and other specifications are separate. Consumers have to look for labeling.

We’ve posted a video talking a little bit about USB 4.0 to LinkedIn.  Here’s Gervais Fong talking about USB 4.0. And me.



Also I’m grateful today, International Women’s Day,  for Hedy Lemarr who invented/discovered spread spectrum and frequency hopping enabling WiFi and wireless communications today.

Read more here:


And my current reading on Wellbeing

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