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Cables and USB ports: finally clear designations!

Plugs and USB cables will abandon their complex and mysterious references in favor of much clearer names. What simplify the life of consumers, for the purchase as for the use.Do you know all the characteristics of the USB 3.0 standard? And the differences between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 1? What’s new in USB 4 Version 2? Or the capabilities of SuperSpeed ​​USB? Probably not. Because, unless you are an expert in technology, it is very difficult to find your way through the jungle of names and to decipher the subtleties between the barbaric references that have multiplied in recent years.

Blame it on the USB Implementers Forum (USB IF), the international non-profit organization that manages the USB standard. In fact, if this “universal” interface has been known and used by everyone since its creation in the mid-1990s, it has evolved enormously with technical progress since its appearance, the original USB 1.0 giving way to multiple variations. – USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, etc. – without disappearing. To the point of drowning users under a host of denominations, while some are already struggling to differentiate the physical formats of sockets: USB-A, microUSB, USB-C…

Aware of the confusion generated in recent times, especially with the recent USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 3.2 2×2, the USB IF has decided to review its copy and abandon the current names in favor of a simpler and clearer nomenclature. . Exit then the mysterious USB 3.1 Gen 1 and other USB 3.2 Gen 2: from now on, cables and USB ports will all be stamped with a very simple system highlighting the two technical characteristics that make the difference – and the only ones that really interest users. users – i.e. the maximum flow rate and the electrical power supported. The USB IF has thus adopted a fairly simple principle indicating only the maximum possible transfer speed, in Gbit/s (Gbps according to the Anglo-Saxon referencing system) for sockets and cables, and the admissible electrical power in watts ( W) for cables.

As we can see, the new names no longer refer to the technical names of the standards: there is no longer any question of USB 3.1, USB 3.2 or even USB 4.0, the very new generation, currently being finalized. . Only the maximum flow is indicated. Similarly, with the clear indication of the allowable electrical power, it will no longer be necessary to decipher the fine print on the back of a package to find out if a cable supports the energy necessary to power a device. What to avoid using a 60 W cable to recharge a computer requiring 240 W…

A few comments. First, the new names will be gradually adopted by the new products put on sale on the market, the old ones, manufactured before, being able to still circulate in the trade the time to run out the stocks. Then, these names only concern USB-C type cables and sockets, the most “modern” standard for connectors, which Europe has moreover decided to impose on all electronic products by the end of the year. fall 2024.

Moreover, this new system is not perfect, because it ignores certain technical aspects such as definitions or refresh rates of a cable that carries a DisplayPort video signal. Finally, the new nomenclature does not apply to old standards such as USB 1.0 or USB 2.0, limited to a maximum speed of 480 Mbit/s and still often qualified as USB Hi-Speed, which risks maintaining a some confusion…

Nevertheless, taking up the Wi-Fi model – which a few years ago opted for Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 type numbers instead of the cryptic 802.11ac and 802.11ax – it is an excellent initiative that should significantly simplify the lives of all users… if manufacturers and retailers play the game well!

Sources: writing and web

Plugs and USB cables will abandon their complex and mysterious references in favor of much clearer names. What simplify the life of consumers, for the purchase as for the use.Do you know all the characteristics of the USB 3.0 standard? And the differences between USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 1? What’s new in USB 4…