February 28, 2024

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USB-IF Says Goodbye to SuperSpeed ​​USB Brand Confusion

USB-IF Says Goodbye to SuperSpeed ​​USB Brand Confusion
Zoom / USB-IF no longer recommends SuperSpeed ​​logos or fast USB port brands.

When SuperSpeed ​​USB was announced in 2007The brand was a logical differentiator. The term was launched with USB 3.0, which brought maximum data transfer rates from USB 2.0 at 0.48 Gbps all the way to 5 Gbps. But by 2022, there were three versions of SuperSpeed ​​USB in various consumer-facing connector types, as well as the potentially fastest USB4.0 . port. Looking into the future, USB products will continue to offer different performance capabilities while looking the same, but there’s at least one thing we can all agree on: “SuperSpeed” isn’t a useful differentiator anymore.

The SuperSpeed ​​brand felt largely unremarkable by 2019, when USB-IF, which makes USB standards, renamed USB 3.0 to USB 3.1 Gen 1; USB 3.1 to USB 3.1 Gen 2, then USB 3.2 Gen 2; And from USB 3.2 to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. The group sought to make things easier for consumers by recommending to sellers that they name products not by the name of the specification but by “SuperSpeed ​​USB” followed by maximum speed (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, for example, would be SuperSpeed ​​USB at 20Gbps).

for every Updated guidelines and logos Which is starting to appear this quarter and which you may see before the end of 2022, according to it the edge Today, USB-IF now recommends vendor label products such as USB 20 Gbps (for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), USB 10 Gbps (for USB 3.2 Gen 2) and so on.

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USB performance logos for USB-IF.
Zoom / USB performance logos for USB-IF.

Meanwhile, USB4 gets the same treatment, with USB-IF recommending USB 40 Gbps and USB 20 Gbps for the specification. when it comes out, USB4 version 2.0 USB should be called 80 Gbps.

USB4 Version 1.0, USB Version 2.0, USB 3.2, SuperSpeed ​​Plus, SuperSpeed ​​Enhanced, SuperSpeed+ is defined in the USB Specification; however, these terms are not intended to be used in product names, messages, packaging, or any other consumer – Facing the content, “USB-IF Language Usage Guidelines updated in September [PDF].

USB-IF still recommends that vendors call USB 2.0, which can take the form of USB-C, USB-A, USB-B, and more, as “Hi-Speed ​​USB” without a performance indicator. Most products that use the USB 2.0 specification are peripheral devices, such as keyboards and printers, Jeff Ravencraft, president of USB-IF and COO, told Ars Technica, so the industry group doesn’t think consumers will mistake the technology for being faster than USB, for example. example. 5 gigabits per second. USB-IF is also afraid of people confusing “USB 480Mbps” as faster than USB 5Gbps, due to the higher number (we think “USB 0.48Gbps” doesn’t sound pretty).

“Hi-Speed ​​USB has been around for over 20 years and is well established in the market, so we have focused our rebranding efforts on 5Gbps and above,” said a USB-IF spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the recommended USB 1.0 brand has not been compromised.

For USB-C cables, USB-IF now recommends packaging and logos stating both maximum data transfer rate and power delivery.

USB-C cable logos for USB-IF.
Zoom / USB-C cable logos for USB-IF.

This does not change much

The changed recommendations are consistent with what many vendors were already doing: List speeds alone without any specific name or term SuperSpeed. Some vendors only list USB specification names. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise to see the official demise of the SuperSpeed ​​brand, especially with USB-IF revealed to be optional and SuperSpeed-free. USB-C . Logos a year ago.

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The fundamental problem remains at the heart of the USB confusion. until USB-C becomes more Widespread And finally in some places Required by lawUSB-C products can have a range of capabilities, including data transfer rates from 0.48 to 40 Gbps.

The USB-IF instructions also do not specify other capabilities, such as Intel Thunderbolt Support, whether it’s active or passive cable, and PCIe tunneling.

SuperSpeed ​​stickers like this one (under the USB-A and USB-C ports) shouldn't be any more.
Zoom / SuperSpeed ​​stickers like this one (under the USB-A and USB-C ports) shouldn’t be any more.

Sharon Harding

But according to Ravencraft, the average person doesn’t really care about any of those things. The CEO told The Verge that consumer study groups showed that most consumers only care about “the highest data performance level a product can achieve” and “the highest level of energy I can get or drive from this product.”

He told The Verge that most people don’t understand USB’s brands, messaging, revision control, or spec names.

Everything is optional

Despite its efforts to simplify what consumers see, USB-IF also cannot guarantee widespread use of its optional logos and certificates. The USB-IF certified products The list contains 2,500 items when there are countless devices, cables, and products that use USB.

Ravencraft acknowledged to Ars that some companies may consider the costs associated with obtaining USB-IF certification, including passing a USB-IF compatibility test and obtaining a USB-IF trademark license agreement, as “exorbitant”. There are discounts for USB-IF members.

Ravencraft has also suggested that some companies may forgo certification if they know they are cutting corners to save costs, and therefore will not pass the compliance test.

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Therefore, the Wild West will likely continue USB tagging to an extent, but customers have options, too. Products with USB-IF logos, if available, immediately tell you the amount of power delivery and speed to expect. Whether this rate should be considered super speed or not is up to you.