There’s a new, super-fast, version of USB 4 on the horizon and you won’t even have to buy a brand new cable to take advantage of it. The USB Promoter Group announced that the next-gen USB Version 2.0 standard is “pending release” and will double the bandwidth of existing USB 4 connectors, from 40 Gbps to up to 80 Gbps.
Amazingly, the new standard is also backwards compatible with previous USB 4 cables. This means that existing USB-C cables capable of 40 Gbps will also get the faster speeds when the new standard becomes available. From the press release: “Key characteristics of the updated USB4 solution include: Up to 80 Gbps operation, based on a new physical layer architecture, using existing 40 Gbps USB Type-C passive cables and newly-defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.”
The USB promoter Group didn’t explain the details around how that’s possible, but a spokesperson for the organization told The Verge it was “a requirement when the new specification was developed and the specifics as to how 80Gbps signaling is accomplished will be disclosed once the final specification is released.”
It’s not yet clear when the new standard will actually reach consumers. In its press release, the USB Promoter Group said the “update is specifically targeted to developers at this time” so it could still be some time before the rest of us can get computers with the new super-fast connector.