Google+ user (yes that’s still a thing) Nathan K. has taken it upon himself to dig deep into the confusion USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. In this installment, he’s created a handy cheat sheet to show how cable length should be a good indicator of capability with this new confusing standard. It’s a handy reference.
Make sure to check out his plethora of other posts on the subject. He’s dug deep into which manufacturers are putting out quality cables. He’s also looked at how device manufacturers are forking the standard by using the same interface, but using proprietary charging wattage, which causes confusion when trying to use chargers across devices.
He does a great job bringing to light that although the connection standard is universal, implementation is far from it.
Nathan K.. comments:
TL;DR: Draw a vertical line at a given length of cable. An ideal cable should be physically capable of everything intersected by that line. If it cannot, it is because the cable company is making tradeoffs.
A Thunderbolt 3 cable can operate at USB3.1Gen2 (1m) or Gen1 (2m) speeds just fine… barring buggy active cables. This buggy behavior runs counter to spec (in my interpretation) and it something I have called out before as potentially causing unnecessary consumer confusion.