The group behind the USB standard has announced that the next version of the USB specification could bring data transfer speeds that are up to twice as fast as what you see now.

That’s because the upcoming USB 3.2 standard supports up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps operation, rather than single-lane.

You won’t notice any difference if you don’t buy a new phone, tablet, computer, or other device with a USB 3.2-compliant port. But the good news is that you may not need to buy any new USB cables. Existing ones should work… if you have the right kind of cable.

Aukey USB-C cables

So what’s the right kind? USB Type-C.

Older USB Type-A, mini USB, or micro USB cables are only designed for single-lane operation. USB Type-C supports multi-lane use.

While this is generally good news, it’s going to make things even more confusing moving forward… looking at a USB Type-C connector already doesn’t let you know if you’re using a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, or Thunderbolt 3 device, since they all use the same connector. Now we’ve got another option to throw into the mix.

Anyway, USB 3.2 should technically be capable of speeds up to 20Gbps, although that’s most likely just a theoretical top speed. Real-world performance will likely vary.

Meanwhile, Thunderbolt 3 is still the way to go if you want high-speed data transfers over a USB cable. That standard supports top speeds of 40Gbps.

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2 replies on “USB 3.2 will bring faster speeds, even with old USB cables”

  1. Damn, this is good except the bandwidth.
    I was hoping for 50Gbps, to rival the TB3, thus bringing eGPU’s to the mainstream.

    I think the majority want to use an Ultrabook on the go, and dock it like the Nintendo Switch, to game on the home couch/desk. Sure you give up 10% performance compared to a full-sized Desktop Gaming PC…. but the versatility is worth it. Something the Gaming Laptops couldn’t pull off… unless it’s the Razer Blade 14, in which case, its too friggen over-priced.

  2. At least cables generally state whether they’re USB 2.0 or USB 3.1 capable and 3.1 cables should work as 3.2 ones. Then the only other variables are is it short enough to probably do thunderbolt 3 and does it have 5A support for charging big items. I agree that ports are confusing now like my TB3 capable port isn’t USB 3.2 capable, can’t support HDMI alternate mode and can’t do full speed either since it’s in an XPS 13.

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