The USB 3.2 specification announced by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in 2017 will be arriving soon, and it'll bring a relatively convoluted new naming structure with it. As was the case when the USB 3.1 specification launched, the new USB 3.2 spec will absorb the previous generations before it, designating them as Gen 1 and Gen 2.

The new USB 3.2 specification, which brings speeds up to 20Gbps, will be known as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. Joining this will be USB 3.2 Gen 1, which originally launched as USB 3.0 and was later renamed USB 3.1 Gen 1; this specification supports transfer speeds up to 5Gbps.

Between the two will be USB 3.2 Gen 2, which originally launched as USB 3.1 and was late renamed USB 3.1 Gen 2; this specification supports transfer speeds up to 10Gbps. In order to hit the 20Gbps speed, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 will utilize two of these 10Gbps high-speed channels.

To help consumers understand which version they're getting, the USB-IF suggests manufacturers use the following terms:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1: 'SuperSpeed USB'
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2: 'SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps'
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2: 'SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps'

According to The Verge, the new USB 3.2 specification will hit the market sometime this year.