Anyone who regularly moves large files like software packages, video files or entire collections of photos from external devices to a PC has probably been hoping that a way to make the whole transfer process faster will come soon. If you belong to this crowd, there good news for you: the speed of USB ports is set to double in the near future.
For nearly two decades, USB ports have been the most popular way of moving data to and from PCs and a variety of external devices, like mobile phones, external hard drives, digital cameras and flash memory sticks. The technology behind USB has been constantly evolving to enable faster data transmission speeds. The current standard used in the latest devices, USB 3.1, has the ability to move data at 10 gigabits per second.
The new USB 3.2 technology is expected to support double that speed, transferring information at up to 20 gigabits per second. These speeds can be achieved with modern devices equipped with USB hardware already available on the market, more specifically USB C- connectors and cables. The design of USB-C cables and the internal hardware serving as controllers found in a variety of devices has been optimized to permit reliable data transmission at much faster speeds.
Many technology commentators see USB-C as a very positive evolution of the connectivity and data transfer technology. There are many benefits to it. USB-C cables are reversible, so there’s no more fumbling to get it plugged in the right way. The plugs are the same size for both PCs and mobile devices, so there’s no need for a cable with a tiny plug for your phone or camera and a big one for your PC.
USB-C is expected to be useful for more than just data transfer. There’s plans to adapt it so that it can be used to connect video monitors to a wide range of devices, not just desktop PCs and laptops. While today’s USB cables are already used to charge small devices, like smartphones and media players, USB-C are compatible with higher power connections. This means they may one day be used to charge laptops as well.
USB-C cables and compatible devices may already be there, but it’ll take a while before the USB 3.2 standard is implemented in consumer devices. According to the latest estimates, this will take from 12 to 18 months to happen. It’s likely that it will first be featured on higher end hardware, before being more universally adopted over time, just like prior changes to USB technology.