New USB standard planned

Version 3.0 offers greater speed

Intel and other companies have formed a group to promote the USB 3.0, which should deliver more than 10 times the speed of the existing USB 2.0 standard.

The third-generation Universal Serial Bus interconnect will transfer data at speeds up to 4.8Gbit/s, 10 times faster than USB 2.0's 480Mbit/s. It will be backwards-compatible with USB 2.0, which itself is backwards-compatible with the first USB 1.1 definition.

According to Intel, the USB 3.0 specification would be optimised for low power and improved protocol efficiency. The USB 3.0 ports and cabling will be designed with both copper and optical cable capabilities, meaning even higher speeds will be possible in the future.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) will act as the trade association for the USB 3.0 specification.

There is also a Wireless USB (WUSB) transfer format and this operates at 480Mbit/s, the same as USB 2.0, in its 1.0 incarnation. Intel also revealed a WUSB 1.1 interconnect format, operating at a speed of up to 1Gbit/s.

Jeff Ravencraft, Intel's technology strategist, says: "The digital era requires high-speed performance and reliable connectivity to move the enormous amounts of digital content now present in everyday life. USB 3.0 will meet this challenge while maintaining (USB 2.0's) ease-of-use experience."

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