A Guide to USB 3.1
WHAT IS USB 3.1?
USB 3.1 is the new standard of USB connection technology. The USB 3.1 standard includes a number of new features, most notably SuperSpeed+ or Gen2 data speed. SuperSpeed+ allows USB 3.1 to transfer data at a speed of 10 Gbps. This means USB 3.1 can transfer a year’s worth of music in just 10 minutes or a Full HD movie in just 30 seconds. The new standard also allows USB 3.1 to provide power delivery, alternate video mode and data transfer through a single cable.
USB 3.1 and USB-C, though developed concurrently, are not the same thing. USB 3.1 is an upgrade over the older USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 technology. USB 3.1 allows faster data transfer in comparison to these two previous versions. USB 3.1 is a new USB technology whilst USB-C is a connector which facilitates this technology.
Provides up to 100W, 5Gbps USB data transfer rates, and the simultaneous transfer of 4K video and audio data.
By using the Type C connection USB 3.1 also allows an alternate mode for additional functionality. This allows features like DisplayPort, HDMI, MHL or Thunderbolt. Please note however that the Host and Device must both support the same alternate mode.
DisplayPort Alternate Mode supports resolutions up to Ultra HD 4K 3840 x 2160. Alongside Simultaneous 4K Video & 5Gbps transfer rates.
The connector for USB-C is slightly smaller than previous USB standards and looks similar to a Micro-USB connector.
Most new mobile phones, tablets and laptops are now supplied with a Type C port whether it's for charging or data transfer.
One big advantage is that you no longer have proprietary chargers and you can use one charger for all your devices. USB Type C was originally used on Notebooks and in the tablet phone market before filtering through to more mainstream devices.
IS THUNDERBOLT THE SAME AS USB 3.1?
Thunderbolt is the connection and power delivery technology used by Apple to charge and deliver data to their products such as Macbooks and iMacs. USB-C is now the connector that is used with the latest Thunderbolt 3 technology. This allows Thunderbolt and USB-C to combine for an amazing 40Gbps of bandwidth. Thunderbolt 3 also uses the Type C port, however this port also offers additional functions that require specific Thunderbolt 3 Type C cables.
Using Thunderbolt 3 a single USB-C port can deliver power in both directions. So a port can charge a device or, alternatively, be charged by one. USB-C and Thunderbolt are capable of delivering up to 100 watts of power, so a single cable can be used to connect to a dock, or display, whilst your Apple device is charged simultaneously.