NEC Takes USB 3.0 to 16Gb/s Page: 1

The boffins at NEC have worked out a system through which they have tripled the speed of USB 3.0 – from 4.8Gb/s data transfer to nearly 16Gb/s. What this means is that the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 now has the ability to go even faster – at least in NEC’s domain.

In most ways, NEC’s new technology works just like USB 3.0 and sends data as a stream of binary 1s and 0s. The difference lies in its ability to deliver and maintain high speed data transfer signals. The company has not actually developed a completely new bus; rather the scientists have come up with a way of delaying the rate at which data is fed back to the input signal.

If this sounds like mumbo-jumbo, it is first necessary to understand how SuperSpeed USB 3.0 works. When data throughput rates are very high, signals tend to become distorted. But the USB interface uses “adaptive equalization” to take care of this distortion. Under this technology, the signal is split into two and one part is fed back onto the input signal to give it stability.

However, when the frequency increases, the bus chip is expected to work a lot faster in order to complete the feedback and keep distortion in check. To work around this problem, NEC boffins seem to have found a method of adding a delay tied to the data rate to the feedback waveform.

“This procedure greatly reduces the nearest-neighbor inter-bit interference in the signal waveform and thus successfully alleviates the issue of feedback-time constraint inherent in conventional equalizers,” NEC’s scientists claimed. While the entire process might seem too complicated to be understood by normal computer users, it definitely seems to work.

So for all purposes, NEC now has a USB chip with the ability to transfer data at 16Gb/s. It now has to wait for the licensing bodies to license the new technology and open the doors for its use at a commercial level.

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