October 26, 2021

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The USB organization hopes to clear USB-C confusion with logos

The USB organization hopes to clear USB-C confusion with logos

USB-C is a convenient connector for charging everything from smartphones and laptops to scooters and power tools, and transferring data at lightning speed. One problem: From the outside it’s not visible to the proper charging cables and connections and data speeds, even if they look identical.

This shortcoming must be resolved with five new slogans, USB-IF mld, the organization behind USB. New certified USB-C cables and devices must now have logos showing the data rate the cable supports and the wattage.

Data and download speeds

There are separate logos showing if the device or cable supports data transfer at 40 Gbps, which is the maximum speed of USB4. There is also a logo showing if the device or cable is suitable for 240W charging, which is the main wattage that USB-C supports.

For devices and cables that support maximum speeds, there are two built-in logos. It is also possible that devices support only one of the two features, for example a laptop that supports 240Gbps USB4 data transfer, but charges, say, 60W. The new fifth logo is for chargers that can be charged at 240W.

Thunderbolt creates additional confusion

In addition to all the potential differences mentioned, there are also Thunderbolt 3 and 4, which have exactly the same connectivity as USB-C and are in some ways compatible with the USB4 standard. There are differences, too: Thunderbolt, for example, supports higher screen resolutions and more devices on a single USB-C port.

The new logos will make it easier for consumers to know if their cables will work with their devices and chargers. The rule of thumb then becomes: If both new logos are on a cable, it can accommodate the extremes of the USB4 standard, so it will work seamlessly with all but a few Thunderbolt features.

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