Signal Standards Keep Evolving: Updates for HDMI 2.1A, Wi-Fi 7, USB4 Version 2


What are the latest signal standards? Technology is always getting better, and some of the changes are so small that you might not even notice them, but they make a big difference in how a person uses a piece of technology. A casual tech user probably doesn’t know that HDMI is already on version 2.0 and Wi-Fi is in its 7th generation. What about the various USB versions?

Connectivity standards have already been improved a lot, which led people to make adapters to make things even better. We’re going to look at a few of them to see how they make things better.

HDMI 2.1a

HDMI 2.1a is the most recent iteration for High Definition Multimedia Interface. Although it is not as big of an update compared to HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1, it still improves it by adding Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM). Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) aims to improve the HDR viewing quality of your device by calibrating the tone mapping before it reaches the display. SBTM, like other HDR technologies, does not employ a fixed set of color and brightness ranges. Instead, the source may adapt to the display, which can also be utilized to reduce the need for users to manually alter HDR settings on Computers and gaming devices. This difference will be highly noticeable when SDR content and HDR content are seen simultaneously, and with SBTM, it will give improved graphics and fewer inaccuracies in colors.

Wi-Fi 7

Wi-Fi 7 is the next-generation wireless technology that offers quicker connections and lower latency than Wi-Fi 6E. Remarkably, despite Wi-Fi 6E being the wireless standard for only two years in 2020, Wi-Fi 7 will overtake it in a year or two. It is also a significant improvement over its predecessor, with peak rates exceeding 40 Gbps being more than four times faster than Wi-Fi 6E’s 9.6 Gbps. Furthermore, it features a new function called Multi-Link Operations (MLO), which can finally combine one connection to numerous frequencies, allowing it to run on 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands simultaneously. Other innovations include a Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) that supports 4K-QAM, which aids Wi-Fi 7 in reaching the enhanced speed that it claims, as well as wider channels for each band compared to its predecessors.

USB4 Version 2

A couple of months ago, USB4 Version 2.0 was introduced, which vastly enhances connectivity standards due to its 80 Gbps capacity compared to its predecessor’s 40 Gbps bandwidth. It is based on the new physical layer design that USB4 2.0 will have, which utilizes the existing passive 40 Gbps and adds a newly-defined active USB Type-C to achieve this astounding speed. It is also compatible with prior generations, such as USB 3.2 and Thunderbolt 3. This update will make life easier for users who transfer large amounts of data through a single connection, such as those who use laptop docks with numerous DisplayPort monitors.

Do you need to buy new cables and products?

For consumers, having the latest version of USB4 isn’t mandatory, as their day-to-day needs for efficient data transfers may not require this level of speed. Still, for commercial integrators and those in similar industries that require higher bandwidths and speeds, USB4 2.0 can open up new possibilities. This new standard will enable them to create more innovative solutions and applications that demand high-speed data transfer rates. With this advancement in technology, users can expect to see even more exciting developments in the near future.

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Ng Ka Yiu.

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