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USB has been evolving over the years and the complications have only been rising. 

Since 1996, USB signal standards have progressed as technology demands increase. Each release is an improvement of its predecessor - an attempt to enhance some previous features. The most recent release from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is the USB 4 signal standard.

USB Comparison

3.0         3.1        USB 3.2

New USB Name Previous USB Name USB Performance Specification Data Transfer Spped ​​​​​​​Year Introduced
USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB 3.0
USB 3.1 Gen 1
SuperSpeed 5 Gbps 2008-2013
USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB 3.1
USB 3.1 Gen 2
SuperSpeed 10 Gbps
10 Gbps 2013
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 20 Gbps 20 Gbps 2017
USB4 USB 4 Gen 2x2
USB 4 20 Gbps
20 Gbps 2019
USB4 USB 4 Gen 3x2
USB 4 40 Gbps
40 Gbps 2019*

*Products have not been introduced to the market yet.
What is USB?

USB is a standard that was developed in the mid-1990s that defines cables, connectors, and communication protocols. This technology is designed to allow a connection, communication and power supply for peripheral devices and computers. USB ports are dynamic in the number of devices that are supported. In theory, a single USB port can support up to 127 devices using USB hubs. USB devices can range from human interface devices, i.e. keyboard, mouse, etc., to storage devices, i.e. thumb drives, external hard drives, etc.
What is USB C?

The USB C connector is a reversible/symmetrical connector, so no more guessing on how to plug it in. Increased durability of up to 10,000 cycles meaning a longer life for the number of times it has the capability to be plugged in.
What is the Difference Between USB C and USB 3.2? (USB C vs USB 3.1)?

The USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2 standards apply to the USB specification, while the USB C standard defines only the physical connector.

The Evolution of USB Standards

USB 3.2 Gen 1 (SuperSpeed) (5Gbps)

The USB 3.2 Gen 1 specification made further improvements to USB technology. The primary improvements include an increase of bandwidth to a maximum of 5Gbps, support for full duplex communication and an increase of the amount of power available to connected devices. This specification retained a backwards compatibility that allows USB 3.0 to support USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices. 

USB 3.2 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed+) (10Gbps)

The USB 3.2 Gen 2 specification is similar to the USB 3.2 Gen 1, only that it doubles the speed of USB 3.2 Gen 1. 

USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20Gbps)

The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification allows for up to two lanes of 10Gbps, achieving the maximum throughput of 20 Gbps. A 3.2 Gen 2x2 device needs to be connected in order to achieve the maximum 20 Gbps speed. So, connecting to USB 3.2 Gen 1 or Gen 2 will not reach the 20 Gbps but only the maximum speed of that previous USB generation. 


The USB 4 specification allows for faster transfer speeds, improved management of video bandwidth, and compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 being possible. This specification uses two-lane cables to operate at up to 40 Gbps, the same speed as Thunderbolt 3. USB 4 also supports DisplayPort Alt mode 2.0, which can support up to 8K resolution at 60 Hz with HDR10 color. Some USB 4 connectivity will also work with Thunderbolt 3 devices. 

USB C Features