USB4 will come with Thunderbolt 3 support - and speeds

USB 4 Debuts With Twice the Throughput and Thunderbolt 3 Support

Intel announces USB 4 standard

That's because the USB-C port can be a Thunderbolt port, but it can also be a standard USB 3.x port.

The USB Promoter Group says that USB4 will be backward compatible with previous iterations, including USB 3.2, Thunderbolt 3, and USB 2.0.

That 40Gbps speed has been available to users of Thunderbolt 3 for a few years now.

The compatibility with older USB standards is expected, but full compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 devices is a big deal.

Today's announcement didn't include the USB 4 specification, which a press release from the USB Promoters state is now in the "final stages of review" by more than 50 companies. Partially, that's no doubt because it's actually a new architecture, built on Intel's Thunderbolt protocol. But probably you won't pay much attention to these names, because today, USB-IF officially announced the USB 4.

This will likely cause some growing pains at the onset not unlike the forthcoming USB 3.2 debacle, but eventually all USB ports will use the Type-C form factor and USB4 standard.

When will the first consumer devices with USB4 support be released? This time around, the USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification, doubling the bandwidth of USB and enabling multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. That also means it's arbitrary and certification has no real value; non-certified devices and cables can perform as good or better than certified devices and cables. With that said, nobody has seen a USB4 port yet so we don't know if it will differ from the current USB-C standard.

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The USB-C connector was created to be future proof and reversible. USB4 promises to double the transfer speeds of USB 3.2 thanks in part to a critical move made by Intel.

With over 50 companies actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification, the USB4 specification is on track to be published around the middle of 2019.

USB 2.0 ports and devices are going to be around for a long time.

"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.

USB Developer Days 2019, in the second half of this year, will include detailed technical training covering the USB4 specification and the latest for USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, and other exciting topics. With the announcement of the USB4 (no space!) specification, the group has reached the apex of powerful features/confusing nomenclature.

Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman offers the following statement.

Intel has already said it plans to include Thunderbolt 3 support directly in its upcoming 10nm Ice Lake processors, meaning they could be the first chips to support USB 4.

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