USB 4 Will Revive Those Ever-so-Useful USB Hubs

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Laptops don’t have a lot of USB-C ports with revolution, however, better dongles will come to act as a hero here. The new USB 4 will restore a useful feature which we lost with the technology’s modernization: USB hubs that let you multiply the utility of a single port on your PC.

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USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, which is a surprisingly successful standard over two decades old now. It’s spread far and wide, but the fresher USB-C technology doesn’t work well for one entirely ordinary device, a USB hub. These hubs have a cable at one end that connects into your computer or laptop and various USB ports to accommodate numerous devices such as a keyboard, mouse, network adapter and memory stick.

Ben Hacker, director of USB strategic planning at Intel said that USB 4 is work in progress now and due to arrive in products in 2020, should fix that shortcoming. He also points to USB 4’s incorporation of Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, a quick, however, costly alternative to USB. “What USB-C was trying to do is turned into that one connector to administrate them all. It’s not exactly there,” Hacker also said at an Intel event Monday that “Our contribution draw it get closer to that.”

It’s important, if apparently minor, change because USB-C’s new helpfulness has unexpectedly left a large number of us short of USB ports. USB-C is good enough that it can replace numerous ports, including those for power, video, audio and the old-style USB-A ports that laptops have used for years. That means laptop makers can merge ports. For example, Apple’s MacBooks have only one USB-C port, and MacBook Air has two. That makes USB hubs extremely valuable.

USB upgrade victim

USB is in the midst of massive modernization. Most obvious is the move to the physical USB-C connector now normal on laptops, Android phones, and the new iPad Pro. USB-C cables are helpfully reversible so you don’t need to figure out which side is up when connecting them in.

But there are lots of different changes, too. A series of speed boost also arrived such as USB 3.0 at 5 gigabits per second, USB 3.1 at 10Gbps and the new USB 3.2 at 20 Gbps. USB now can charge laptops and countless different devices with USB Power Delivery technology. Furthermore, “alt modes,” which let you associate monitors with HDMI and DisplayPort video standards the cable connect to HDMI, gives USB-C ports significantly more options.

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Hacker said that The flexibility of those alt modes means it’s difficult to know precisely what type of data is streaming across USB-C wires, however, and that in turn hampered USB-C hubs. Thunderbolt works differently. Controller chips at each end of the connection handle a variety of data types, stuff them onto the wires at a significantly faster 40Gbps transfer rate, then detangle all the data at the opposite end of the connection. USB 4 is being remade with that technology, which Intel released royalty-free after years of great extent efforts to push Thunderbolt as a mainstream technology.

Hacker said that “It’s very fast relative to current USB which is designed to traverse hubs or daisy chains,” where data hops from device to device along a chain of cables.

Also Read: Google Artist Hub of Google Play Music is going to shutdown 

Thunderbolt will get a boost as new chips from Intel assemble the technology indirectly so an additional chip isn’t required. But USB’s incorporation of Thunderbolt leaves the technology’s future dubious.

Getting data from point A to point B 

Hacker described the improvement at an event called Interconnect Day that concentrating on one of Intel’s six pillars of crucial technology. The other five pillars are manufacturing processes, chip design, memory, security, and software. Improving interconnect technology and standards is urgent to computing execution since interconnects get data from where it’s stored to where it’s needed.

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At its event, Intel showcased a range of developments. Among them:

  • Intel’s compute express link technology, which it hopes will make it simpler to carry computing jobs from CPUs to design chips and other accelerator chips.
  • A new 800 series of Ethernet network cards for servers using a technology called application device queues that exchange data at more reliably quick speeds.
  • New silicon photonics technology that pastes lasers to chips for quicker fiber-optic networking. A new adapter due this year will be able to communicate at speeds of 400Gbps over long distances.

Jim Keller, the senior vice president in charge of Intel’s silicon engineering work said that “Interconnect technology covers everything from communications from one side of a chip to the other to data links over the whole planet. That’s a pretty big range and the distance varies by a factor of a billion.”

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