Wednesday, October 5, 2022

USB Simplifies Branding But Reintroduces Active Cables

Jon Porter (via Hacker News):

The SuperSpeed USB branding is no more thanks to a new set of guidelines currently being rolled out by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the body that manages and maintains the USB standard.

It’s part of a rebranding initiative that the organization kicked off last year with the introduction of a new series of packaging, port, and cable logos. But with its latest set of branding and logo guidelines it’s going even further, simplifying its legacy branding and signaling the end of the decade-old SuperSpeed branding. If the name doesn’t ring any bells, then that’s probably because you (like most other people) simply referred to it by its USB 3 version number. Alongside it, the USB-IF is also ditching USB4 as a consumer-facing brand name.


So, instead of referring to USB devices by a version number or vague name like “SuperSpeed,” the USB-IF wants companies to use branding that reflects these all-important specs. “SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps” and “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps” are now just “USB 5Gbps” and “USB 10Gbps” respectively, while “USB4 40Gbps” and “USB4 20Gbps” are becoming “USB 40Gbps” and “USB 20Gbps.”

Glenn Fleishman:

At the same time, however, a somewhat hidden aspect of USB4 cables comes to the fore with the announcement of an upcoming 80 Gbps version of USB4.


Thunderbolt 3 was the first version of that standard to introduce the distinction of active and passive cables; USB had avoided it by having a single cable definition for USB 1.0 through 3.2.


If you want USB4’s full 80 Gbps over cable runs longer than 0.8 meters, you will have to purchase new active USB4 cables for that updated standard. These new cables will be compatible with Thunderbolt 4.


At the moment, the gold standard for the greatest compatibility and least fuss remains the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 cable, which is technically active for Thunderbolt 4 and passive for USB4 (see “OWC Releases Affordable Thunderbolt 4 Cables,” 17 March 2022).


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

This seems like an improvement over the mess they got us in before, but only time will tell if it'll actually help. I still have completely unlabeled USB-C cables sitting around my office and do not know what their capabilities are, and don't know any way to find out!

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