“USB 3.2 Gen 2×2” standard doubles transfer speeds but everyone is going nuts over the naming mess

USB 3.2 Gen 2x2

So, the new USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is out, and it’s fast. How fast you ask? 20Gbps fast, that’s half of what Thunderbolt 3 can achieve, and that thing is known to support eGPUs. Although this time, the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 uses two lanes to achieve those speeds. Also, with the growing popularity of USB C ports on the rise, this seems like a good time for a new standard to pop up. And we will explain the naming mess as well.

The new USB 3.2 Gen 2×2

20Gbps is no joke here, that’s double the speed of its direct predecessor and four times the speeds of the original USB Gen 3.0. They have implemented a 2 lane system, hence the name “2×2”. The platform was announced back in 2017, is now official, and that’s about it here. There is nothing new to share about the actual technology right now, the adaptation will start soon enough, so let’s start with the naming confusion everyone has.

The naming confusion

A brief history first, starting with the USB 1.1 (revision to the USB 1.0), which had a max speed of 12Mb/s. The second generation aka USB 2.0 was capable of 480Mb/s and that was a proper generation gap. Followed by USB 3.0, with its 5Gb/s max transfer rates. It was then revised to USB 3.1 and that doubled the transfer rate to 10Gb/s. Finally comes the one we are discussing today, with a max transfer rate of 20Gb/s, USB Gen 3.2 Gen 2×2.

The branding change

It is pretty simple, right? Well, it was for the most part. But to avoid confusion, the USB IF has now changed a few branding names from the past. The USB 3.0, a name we are all familiar with is officially the USB 3.2 Gen 1. Everything remains the same but the branding, and it also gets the SuperSpeed badging. The second in line is USB 3.1, also known as the USB 3.1 Gen 2, is now USB 3.2 Gen 2. Let’s put all this in a table to make it simpler.

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USB Version Official New Branding Name  Speed Badging
USB 1.1 Remains Unchanged 12Mb/s Full Speed
USB 2.0 Remains unchanged 480Mb/s High Speed
USB 3.0 USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gb/s SuperSpeed
USB 3.1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s SuperSpeed 10Gbps
USB 3.2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gb/s SuperSpeed 20Gbps

Conclusion

Hopefully, this clears your confusion. Ohh!! and these namings schemes, for eg the USB 3.2 Gen 1 only show off its theoretical speed, not the connection type or the power delivery capabilities. As explained by the USB-IF themselves, “USB 3.2 is not USB Type-C, USB Standard-A, Micro-USB, or any other USB cable or connector”. That statement was followed by “USB 3.2 is not USB Power Delivery or USB Battery Charging”.