USB 3.2, which is capable of 20Gbps data speed, is finally ready to hit the market. According to an online report, the first desktop PCs with the new standard should reach the stores sometime later this year. USB-Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the organisation that develops the USB standard, has also released the branding details for the revision, including the rebranding of USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2. The USB 3.2 specification was first announced back in July 2017 as an incremental update that defines multi-lane operation for new USB 3.2 hosts and devices.
According to a report in AnandTech, the first USB 3.2 chips should arrive on high-end motherboards around this summer, whereas the peripherals with USB 3.2 support aren’t expected until 2020.
USB 3.2 branding confusion
The USB 3.2 standard brings the support to use two high-speed USB Type-C Tx/Rx channels to get the 20Gbps speed via a compatible USB Type-C cable. The USB 3.2 is also backward compatible with all existing products. However, the introduction of USB 3.2 also adds a lot of confusion around how the USB specifications are named as USB-IF is rebranding the USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 to USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 2. The actual USB 3.2 with 20Gbps speed will be called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, the USB-IF revealed in updated branding guidelines on its website.
To offer you a little context, when USB 3.0 was announced, it was pretty straightforward, with a USB 3.0 connection you would get 5Gbps transfer rates in ideal conditions. However, when USB 3.1 came along, USB-IF decided to rebrand USB 3.0 to USB 3.1 Gen 1 and the newer specification with 10Gbps speed was dubbed USB 3.1 Gen 2. Now, with USB 3.2, USB-IF is further muddying the waters and the specification with 5Gbps speed that was originally called USB 3.0 will now be dubbed as USB 3.2 Gen 1 and 10Gbps will be dubbed as USB 3.2 Gen 2.
The marketing names though are comparably simpler, USB 3.2 Gen 1 will be called SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.2 Gen 2 will be called SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 gets the SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps name. USB-IF has urged the manufacturers to use the names, but it is up to the manufacturers, who can always use the confusing branding to their advantage.