September 29, 2017 // 11:28 a.m.
The Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum (USB IF) has officially released the final version of the USB 3.2 specification, which includes the capability of carrying two USB lanes across existing USB Type-C cabling.
Since the finalisation of the USB 3.1 SuperSpeed standard back in 2013, the USB IF has been beavering away on adding new features and capabilities to its ubiquitous connectivity standards. A rash of bad cables led to the introduction of cryptographic authentication while a move away from the traditional 3.5mm analogue audio jack in mobile devices is supported by an audio-over-USB standard. Updates to the core USB standard itself, though, have been thin on the ground - until, back in July, the USB IF announced a preview release of USB 3.2.
The USB 3.2 standard is now finalised, the USB IF has confirmed, and it brings with it a headline change: USB 3.2 devices will be able to run two lanes across existing USB Type-C cables of sufficient quality, effectively doubling their throughput to and from compatible devices. Elsewhere, though, the changes are relatively minor: USB 3.2 brings with it the same USB 3.1 SuperSpeed physical layer encoding techniques and data rates announced by the USB IF back in 2013, and while the USB 3.2 hub specification has been tweaked for improved performance the difference between USB 3.1 SuperSpeed and USB 3.2 SuperSpeed for single-lane devices will be minimal.
With the standard now finalised, it's up to manufacturers to begin implementation - a process which, as we saw with USB 3.1 SuperSpeed, typically takes several years to complete. Thus far, no member companies have come forward to suggest when the first USB 3.2 devices will be available to end users. Those interested in the nitty-gritty of the standard, meanwhile, can download it as a 103MB ZIP archive from the official USB IF website.