While these new 240W cables are good news, USB-C is still touted as the one-stop solution for all of our future cable needs…but compatibility is a major issue.
Even if the EU is important impose it everywhere, or roughly speaking, USB-C isn’t that simple for users. Cable compatibility, arguably the most frustrating USB-C issue, stems from interoperability : Legacy support for slower devices and the introduction of faster use cases such as video data transfer.
In short, USB-C can be of type 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1, which affects the amount of data and power they can handle. It’s backward compatible with USB Power Delivery, and thus is the best option for charging devices, but consumers rarely really know what they have. Some cables only support a few tens of watts, but the standard can support more power.
Until now, the USB-C standard has been limited to 100W (20V at 5A). That’s why it’s rare to find a gaming laptop that ships with a USB-C card. Most often they use special connectors on devices that consume more than 100 watts.
The first 240W USB-C cables
In May 2021, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) released the USB-C 2.1 Update that describes the standard Extended Power Range (EPR). Specifically, this standard allows USB-C to support power delivery of up to 240 watts, or up to 48 volts at 5 amps.
Club3D, a small manufacturer, has just launched a new cable that can deliver up to 240 watts of power. The company thus offers three cables, two of which are equipped with power, data and video, and the other is limited to power and the slower data (USB 2.0).
While the idea of a single cable to support everything sounds great, the reality is quickly becoming a chaotic mix of proprietary products against standards and specifications, or different cable capabilities and supports, and a murky load of functionality.
The result is a USB-C standard that appears easy to use, but quickly leads to consumer frustration because there is no clear indication of why certain cables and features may not work on all devices.
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