The new architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification which was contributed by Intel. It builds on existing USB3.2 and 2.0 specs, doubles the bandwidth and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols.
It defines a way of sharing a single high-speed link with multiple end device types dynamically to serve the transfer of data by type and application.
“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said USB Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders.
Key features of the USB4 spec include:
- Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables;
- Multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus; and
- Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3.
“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone,” said Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel.
“By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”
“USB4’s high throughput and advanced features enable new scenarios in consumer, enterprise, and intelligent edge markets, while maintaining interoperability with existing USB and Thunderbolt 3 devices,” said Roanne Sones, corporate vice-president, Microsoft OS Platforms.
“We are excited to work with our partners in the ecosystem to bring USB4 to market and showcase its benefits.”
The USB Promoter Group includes Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments.