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Corning's Thunderbolt and USB 'Optical Cables' transmit data over hundreds of feet

post #1 of 19
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Making good on a promise to unveil new interconnect products at CES, Gorilla Glass producer Corning on Monday revealed optical Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables that can transfer data over hundreds of feet.

Corning Optical Cables
Corning's Thunderbolt Optical Cable (left) and USB 3.Optical Cable (right). | Source: Corning


Corning's new "Thunderbolt Optical Cables" and "USB 3.Optical Cables" both use the company's ClearCurve VSDN optical fiber technology to significantly extend the range of data transmission over traditional copper-based products. According to Corning, the new cables are also stronger than copper cables despite being 50 percent smaller and 80 percent lighter.

Corning teased the Thunderbolt version of its aptly-named "Optical Cable" in an announcement last week regarding the company's upcoming Gorilla Glass 3.

While data speeds won't be boosted by the optical fiber tech, enterprise or professional users may be interested in the products' support of ultra-long cable runs. Corning says the USB 3.Optical Cables max out at 100 feet (30 meters), while the Thunderbolt Optical Cables can reach lengths up to 330 feet (100 meters) without daisy chaining devices.

?Users can create, move and manage their data in a much more flexible, efficient and durable manner with this new technology," said Mike Bell, senior vice president and general manager of Corning's Optical Connectivity Solutions. "Video can be live edited from across a football field; a music library can be downloaded 40% faster; and devices can be quickly accessed and connected with this much smaller and lighter cable when the capabilities of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth just aren?t enough.?

Both products feature an "ultra-slim, zero-bend" radius cable with a noise-reducing design. The Thunderbolt version allows for full bi-directional 10Gbps data rates, while the USB 3.0 iteration provides 5Gbps and is backward-compatible with USB 2.0.

Corning expects the Optical Cables to go on sale sometime in the first quarter but gave no word on pricing.
post #2 of 19
This seems like it might be a very unique case for notebook and AIO users that can't get an optical card in their system. Or maybe some company that has monitors placed too far away from their system for some presentation use.
Edited by SolipsismX - 1/7/13 at 11:25pm

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post #3 of 19
Coming soon for the low, low, price of $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
post #4 of 19
Time for Apple to release a Thunderbolt to 10 Gig Ethernet adaptor.
post #5 of 19
I have to say, I can't wait. It'll have to drop a price but I can definitely see Thunderbolt replace my current Firewire setup. I have Firewire backup drives in a safe against theft and (small) disasters.

The challenge at the moment is that you can't safely use Firewire over more than 5 meters. A 100 meter solution would even allow me store my backups at the neighbours.
post #6 of 19
This takes me back. In 1980 my Apple retail business was a reseller for Symbiotic Systems in the UK and installed hard drives with fibre optic cables that could run very long lengths, with repeaters when required, to network everything together. This was on Apple ][ computers and massive 10 and 20 MB hard drives! LOL
Edited by digitalclips - 1/8/13 at 5:43am
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post #7 of 19
I like the idea of Thunderbolt. However... I don't think cable length is the problem.

Maybe a reduced license fee would make vendors more excited about making products for Thunderbolt. I dunno.

Thunderbolt has so much promise... I'd love to see it kick up a notch.
post #8 of 19
ascii View Post
Time for Apple to release a Thunderbolt to 10 Gig Ethernet adaptor.

I'm having trouble thinking of a valid use case. All desktop Macs still have ethernet; who is managing a workflow that requires gig-e from a portable Mac?

 

Michael Scrip View Post
I like the idea of Thunderbolt. However... I don't think cable length is the problem.
Maybe a reduced license fee would make vendors more excited about making products for Thunderbolt. I dunno.

Agreed. Firewire was supposed to be a much more universal connector, even doing what HDMI now does for home theater. Thunderbolt certainly has a better chance, thanks to Intel.

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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Time for Apple to release a Thunderbolt to 10 Gig Ethernet adaptor.

 

I was just going to ask: when can I wire my house with this?

 
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post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorsos View Post

I'm having trouble thinking of a valid use case. All desktop Macs still have ethernet; who is managing a workflow that requires gig-e from a portable Mac?

 

Centralized data storage.  Think multiple household members watching different 4k videos streamed from a server (in a couple of years).  Think multiple computers backed up to centralized storage in a few minutes (rather than a few hours).

 
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post #11 of 19
Thunderbolt was poised as an "optical" cable solution, so it's very interesting to see optical USB be released. Just yesterday I was arguing that optical was an advantage for Thunderbolt over USB when distance was a factor. Still is to an extent, but not nearly as much now. 1smile.gif
post #12 of 19

this might be slightly off topic...

Thunderbolt (in theory) is a great solution, it's fast flexible and slimline.

However, In display tech, it's worthless, and Apple has throttled full-res from TB to any other I/O or external displays.  I really wish Apple made a way to display full-res on 27" NON-Apple displays through TB.  It's kind of crazy/annoying they've locked it out to only using Apple displays to gain full res.

 

TB works great in applications like data transfer.  Seems like a steady adoption rate there.  Personally, I think TB is too late in the game for Display tech and will loose the race to Super-speed USB 3.0 and HDMI.  I think Apple has already conceeded in their 2012 Retina Macs with the addition of HDMI...whether it give you full res on a Non-Apple 27" monitor is a good question.  Which is really annoying since I refuse to purchase an Apple Monitor because they've locked out PC's from displaying on them, and since I need to connect a PC and a Mac to an external display AND get full res from a 27" display, there is no good option.


Edited by antkm1 - 1/8/13 at 9:18am
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

Thunderbolt was poised as an "optical" cable solution, so it's very interesting to see optical USB be released. Just yesterday I was arguing that optical was an advantage for Thunderbolt over USB when distance was a factor. Still is to an extent, but not nearly as much now. 1smile.gif

 

You also need to look at the technical details of how USB works to see other shortcomings: the complexity of controlling the USB bus eats into CPU time (because it can't easily be offloaded to dedicated hardware) and there is a lot of overhead when transferring data (meaning you'll never get close to the theoretical maximum bandwidth).

 
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post #14 of 19
Optical is still a great advantage of Thunderbolt. USB will get to 10GB one way in a year or so. and its optical can only go 100 feet. Thunderbolt can already do 10 GB bidirectional and with optical can go 330 feet while being compatible with all units already sold. The optical also removes the speed barrier so by the time USB gets to 10 GB one way we will have 20 GB bidirectional..
post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by genovelle View Post
Optical is still a great advantage of Thunderbolt. USB will get to 10GB one way in a year or so. and its optical can only go 100 feet. Thunderbolt can already do 10 GB bidirectional and with optical can go 330 feet while being compatible with all units already sold. The optical also removes the speed barrier so by the time USB gets to 10 GB one way we will have 20 GB bidirectional..

 

Thunderbolt steps up to 100Gb, so by the time USB can meet current Thunderbolt speeds, we'll have 200Gbps up/down with Thunderbolt.

 

Or does it go to 40 first…

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post #16 of 19
I don't know about Thunderbolt, but USB normally requires that the cable provides power to the attached peripheral. How can this work with an optical cable? :?

The press release and the product description do not clarify this:
http://www.corning.com/CableSystems/OpticalCablesbyCorning/products/USB-3.Optical.aspx

I guess it only works with self-powered devices...
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post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jido View Post

I don't know about Thunderbolt, but USB normally requires that the cable provides power to the attached peripheral. How can this work with an optical cable? :?
The press release and the product description do not clarify this:
http://www.corning.com/CableSystems/OpticalCablesbyCorning/products/USB-3.Optical.aspx
I guess it only works with self-powered devices...

On the peripheral end you could use a USB splitter so you can distribute power to the device if the only way it can get power is through the USB port. This is purly for extended the distance. I hope that iFixit will buy and teardown one of each cable.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 19
So owners of a Mac can get 20 gbps a football field a way. Yet in 2 years USB 3 will get it 10 gbps 100 feet away, I doubt it I see it more like USB 3 about 30 feet, 6 gbps, with thunderbolt 270 feet and 10-30 gbps, this fits it better. Still major improvement now you could plug devices to your neighbors across the street.
post #19 of 19
When one posts in a thread with network speeds as its topic can we please all make proper use of capitals?

b = bit
B = Byte

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