Introduction to USB4

Introduction to USB4

USB standard USB4 is here and today in this article I would like to discuss some of the major improvements in this standard. Now it’s a long jump from USB 3.0 released in November 2008 and probably it will be commercially available from mid-2019 or in 2020 we may get devices with USB4 compatibility. Following the USB saga of naming, this version is named differently and instead of USB 4.0 it is named USB4 but that’s not issue.

But USB IF has the stupidest naming system. Consider this, the third version 3.0 was initially named as USB 3.0 but later it was renamed as 3.1 Gen 1 and now it’s 3.2 Gen 1 but there was already USB 3.1 so they renamed 3.1 to USB 3.1 Gen 2 and now they renamed it as 3.2 Gen 2. Their latest USB 3.2 is also renamed to USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. Confusing huh?

Forget about this naming. I was just giving a taste of naming system of USB IF. So here is a history of USB:

Version Year
USB 1.0 1996
USB 1.1 1998
USB 2.0 2000
USB 3.0 2008
USB 3.1 2013
USB4 2019

Now coming to USB4 here are some of the key features of the new standard :-


This new standard now supports speed up to 40 Gb/s and is almost twice the latest 3.2 standard which support 20 Gb/s. It also supports 3 types of speeds 10, 20 and 40 Gb/s depending on type of hardware. Its due to fact that new standard has two lanes of data. It has two physically separated lanes both with bandwidth of 20 Gb/s. This means you can do multitasking like transferring data as well as displaying or doing Daisy chaining. It means that you can transfer two type of data simultaneously.


As the saga of USB continues, this standard also supports backward compatibility to 3.1, 2.0 and thunderbolt. Yes! This new standard will support thunderbolt. Though the speed won’t be that great on older versions due to internal bottleneck but atleast it got support.

Thunderbolt base

Thunderbolt was initially a separate proprietary developed by Intel and Apple with USB type C connector but this time Intel released thunderbolt specifications to USB IF for its USB4 base under royalty free that means USB IF can develop new standard with thunderbolt specifications. It also means that the new USB4 would have additional features that were exclusive for thunderbolt. It also means that new standard would come up with MHL protocol.

Power Delivery

Like some USB type C devices support power delivery, every USB4 would support power up to 100 watts.

This was all about new USB standard USB4. If are liking my way of writing and want future articles just Subscribe to my blog (its free!) and leave a comment if are still confused about anything and suggest me more topics on which I can write.

Happy Reading Folks!

Kaustubh Gupta
Kaustubh Gupta That Data Guy, Habitual Writer and Tech Enuthusist