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If you have a need for speed, you’ll be thrilled to know that USB 3.2 is on its way. It offers incredible transfer speeds up to 20GB per second, but there’s a catch that could throw a wrench into the works, or at least make things more complicated. At the most recent Mobile World Congress, it was announced that the new USB 3.2 specification will encompass both USB 3.0 and USB 3.1, which creates three different tiers of speed.

The three speeds include:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 will bear the moniker ‘SuperSpeed USB’ and will have transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps
  • USB 3.2 Gen two will be called ‘SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, and as its name indicates, will offer transfer speeds that are twice that of the Gen 1 product
  • USB Gen 2x2 will be marketed as ‘SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps, with the promised 20Gbps transfer speeds

Of particular interest is the SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps product, marketed as 2x2.  It’s able to provide its impressive transfer rate because it utilizes “two lanes” of 10Gbps data transfer, but only when utilizing Type-C cables.  Fortunately, although Type-C cables got off to a bit of a rocky start, those issues are now a thing of the past. USB-IF is encouraging device manufacturers to copy their SuperSpeed nomenclature in an attempt to minimize end-user confusion.

Despite it being a bit more complicated than is necessary, this is very good news.  Transfer speeds have long been something of a bottleneck, and the new tech (USB 3.2 SuperSpeed Gen 2x2) is a welcome addition to the ecosystem.  Look for it to start being available later this year.

For the time being, there’s nothing to be done, except perhaps to make sure you’ve got a little extra money in the budget to spring for the new tech when it becomes available.