USB Gets a Speed Boost with 3.1 Release
August 1, 2013

USB Gets A Speed Boost With 3.1 Release

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has completed its USB 3.1 Specification, which will enable the SuperSpeed USB, offering speeds up to 10 Gbps.

To get the 10 Gbps rate of the SuperSpeed USB, the standard uses more efficient data encoding. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group says it will deliver more than twice the effective data throughput performance. This is possible by using enhanced USB connectors and cables.

"The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman, in a statement from the organization. "The specification team worked hard to make sure that the changes made to support higher speeds were limited and remained consistent with existing USB 3.0 architecture to ease product development."

Developers will be able to upgrade existing USB protocols, and use the faster speeds on new devices and applications.

"We recognize this advancement in USB technology is an important development for our customers," said Tom Bonola, chief technology officer, Business PC Solutions at HP. "The USB 3.1 Specification enables us to meet the growing needs of our customers for faster data transfer while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing devices."

While the USB 3.0 Promoter Group plans to continue advancements on the standard, the new update comes from industry demand as much as from the initiatives of the group.

"The industry has affirmed the strong demand for higher throughput, for user-connected peripherals and docks, by coming together to produce a quality SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps specification," said Alex Peleg, Vice President, Intel Architecture Group. "Intel is fully committed to deliver on this request."

The .1 release, USB 3.1, is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0, The Register reports. "The new speed will only be achievable with a kit using USB 3.1, but such products will work just fine in older USB ports," the article explained.

"While maintaining backward compatibility, USB continues to advance to meet customer's growing need for higher speed data," said Roland Sperlich, TI Consumer and Computing Interface Product Line Manager. "The 10 Gbps data rate allows designers across many industries to do more with a universal standard."

"In this multi-device world, the USB 3.1 updates will enable end-users to move content across devices quickly, conveniently and without worrying about compatibility," said Emile Ianni, corporate vice president of Platform Solutions Engineering at AMD. "AMD thanks our engineers as well as the other technology contributors for bringing to market robust innovation that is designed to work seamlessly with new and existing solutions."

USB 3.1 competes with the Thunderbolt I/O standard, which promises data transmission throughput speeds up to 20 Gbps. Performance on the competing platform has not proven to be as promised. The 20 Gbps speeds have been demonstrated in the lab, but are yet to be fulfilled in commercial applications.