USB 4 Supports Protocol Tunneling For Buses, Supports 40 Gbps Transfer


As USB 3, USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 start to permeate and settle down in the market, the good folks over at USB Implementers Forum are out with USB 4, generation 1. The stated goals of USB 4.0 are simple. Despite the numerous advantages offered by  USB 3, the confusing nomenclature behind the framework has proven to be a hurdle in its adoption. To simplify things, the USB-IF decided to name 5Gbps USB 3 ports as SuperSpeed USB, 10Gbps ports as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps and 20Gbps ports as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. So if you're curious about what USB 4's all about, head over below for the details.

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When compared to USB 3, USB 4 isn't all about increasing speed, although it does increase speed over the same old dual-lane, dual-simplex architecture. A key idea behind the upgrade is to provide peripherals with greater leverage when communicating with each other. So, while USB 3  allows a host to share data with different peripherals, USB 4 takes this a step further.

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With it, peripherals attached to a host computer will be able to share bandwidth between them. This, if you're astute, will bring the concept behind the Internet of Things to wired devices as well. The fundamental architecture behind USB 4 is however unchanged over its predecessor; the aforementioned SuperSpeed USB (Gen 3.2). Yet, this doesn't mean that USB 4 doesn't change anything over its predecessor.

USB 4 allows an aggregation of different protocols in order to share bandwidth between them, through what is termed as protocol tunneling to USB buses. This allows tunneling Display Port (DP) and load/store based on PCI Express. USB 4 supports Display Port tunneling by acting as a ''pass through'' and by incorporating a DP OUT adapter that receives tunneled traffic and sends it to a DisplayPort sink

The new standard will also retain compatibility with existing Thunderbolt and USB products. USB 4 is also designed to support high throughput signaling rates. These include:

  • 10 Gbps (for Gen 2) and 20 Gbps (for Gen 3)
  • Optional support for Thunderbolt 3-compatible rates of 10.3125 Gbps (for Gen 2) and 20.625 Gbps (for Gen 3).

Since we've touched performance parameters, the most important reveal for USB 4 is the data rate that will be supported by the latest standard. According to details revealed by USB-IF, USB 4 will double USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 data transfer rate. This means that the new connections will allow data transfer as high as 40 Gbps, while utilizing the same dual-lane, dual-simplex architecture.

In details that were shared earlier by USB-IF, the standard will support 100 Watts charging, and allow you to support two 60Hz 4K displays. The official designation for USB 4 is USB4.

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