The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the pending release of the USB 3.2 specification, an incremental update that defines multi-lane operation for new USB 3.2 hosts and devices.
While USB hosts and devices were originally designed as single-lane solutions, USB Type-C cables were designed to support multi-lane operation to ensure a path 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 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. This is effectively doubling the performance across existing cables. For example, a USB 3.2 host connected to a USB 3.2 storage device will now be capable of realizing over 2 GB/sec data transfer performance over an existing USB Type-C cable that is certified for SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.
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
For users to obtain the full benefit of this performance increase, a new USB 3.2 host must be used with a new USB 3.2 device and the appropriate certified USB Type-C cable. This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and is specifically targeted to developers at this time. Branding and marketing guidelines will be established after the final specification is published. The USB 3.2 specification is now in a final draft review phase with a planned formal release in time for the USB Developer Days North America event in September 2017.