USB 4 is coming! What will it bring?

Universal Serial Bus or in short, USB is the protocol that we are using for decades and almost in every device, we can notice this interface. Unlike other protocols, USB is the most confusing because of its various versions and their different speeds and other capabilities. Talking about versions, a new version of USB has been announced i.e. USB4 by the USB community USB-IF ( USB Implementers Forum). In the starting of 2020, it will be brought for consumer grades and most probably in the midst of 2020 or in the last of that year, we can see people using this new interface standard in their devices. In that announcement, they have explained the features, capabilities and the connectors of USB4.

History of USB (for readers’-interest Only)

As I told you USB is always very confusing among normal user because of its different speeds. capabilities and connectors. Of course, I am not going too many details through this article but I am only mentioning all the speeds and that every version of USB offers at different times.


In 1996 USB was first introduced through the version of USB 1.0 and its maximum speed was only 1.5Mb/s which was pretty low and almost useless. Back then, USB was mostly used to connect Keyboard, mouse, webcams which do not most of the time care the interface speed. After two years in 1998 USB 1.1 was introduced with the maximum speed of 12.5 Mb/s. Not a great improvement but hey! Every technology started from somewhere. After 3 years the next version of USB hit on the market named USB 2.0 which is also very common in modern devices. It offers maximum 480Mb/s which was not so bad at all even now. 7 years later in 2008, the next version of USB was introduced USB 3.0 with the maximum speed of 5Gb/s and in 2019 the USB4 is introduced. In these 11 years gap two revisions of USB 3.0 was launched, USB 3.1 (2013) and USB 3.2 (2017) with the maximum 10Gb/s and 20Gb/s respectively.

USB Different Versions

Marvelous Specification of USB4

First discussable thing is the connector because it is the main thing that a normal person firstly notices. Herewith USB4, Type C connector will be used which was developed with USB 3.1 Interface. Now you may think USB C is also used with Thunderbolt 3 then how can it be used in USB4? Why not? let me clear, USB type C is just a connector it can be used anywhere, any Interface of course if the designers of the Interface want. This is a beneficial connector because, with Type C connector, you can plug in with any direction into its socket for its reversibility.

Another advantage of USB4 is power delivery. With Type C connector, maximum of 100 watts of power delivery is possible. Of course, that depends on so many factors like cable quality, device support, etc. So, we can charge our mobile phones through a USB4 port, right?

Even with the help of the new version of USB, you can connect your laptop with a different monitor and you can get the display of it. Yes, just like Thunderbolt 3 USB4 will support two 4K displays or one 5K display at a time. As I said that USB4 uses type c connector which has the ability to support 100W of power delivery so, if you connect a monitor to your laptop, the monitor gets the display as well as the power through the USB4 interface. In the reverse scenario, your monitor can charge your laptop easily through the USB4 port (If the device can be charged under the 100W of power).

Two 4K Monitors

These are not all the main features of USB4. The transmission speed of this new version is also improved at a significant amount. With USB 3.2, one can achieve 20Gb/s speed maximum but with USB4, the transmission speed becomes noticeably high at 40 Gb/s. There are two different lanes are used to transmit data from one device to another, both are 20Gb/s (20Gb/s+20Gb/s = 40Gb/s).

Herewith USB4, every feature looks like thunderbolt then, are both of the same? – Kind of, although both have the same speed, same specs, and most importantly same connector although it’s not assured that on USB4 all the thunderbolt supported devices work perfectly. As an example, Thunderbolt supported external GPU docks, external drive enclosure may not work on USB4.

Why USB4? Why not Thunderbolt?

Now you are thinking “what is the point of introducing USB4 whereas almost similar Interface Thunderbolt, is already exist with the same speed, same specification, and other stuff?” Here the point is cost. If a manufacturer implements Thunderbolt on their devices then they have to pay a royalty to Intel on the other hand USB is completely open-source that means anyone can use it with free of cost so, implementing USB4 on cheap devices is easily possible for a manufacturer but Thunderbolt is only found on pricy devices. Another thing that thunderbolt only offers is daisy-chaining. What is daisy chaining? Suppose, you connect your computer with an external hard drive which has two Thunderbolt 3 ports. With one port, you have to connect the computer and with another port, connect with another external hard drive that has also an extra port and with that extra port, you can connect with another thunderbolt supported device and this process continues, which is a great advantage of Thunderbolt which USB4 will not offer.


USB4 in a nutshell

These are all the features that USB4 will offer but now we don’t know which are the mandatory features and which are optional that manufacturer can ignore to reduce the cost of the final product. When this awesome new version of USB hit the market in year 2020 by sitting on a product then we will know the reality. Hope you guys enjoyed by reading this article if so then don’t forget to comment down below to appreciate my work. Thanks for visiting.

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