Sumitomo Electric Green Lit for Infrared Light in Thunderbolt

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | January 1, 2013 - 12:25 AM |

Sumitomo Electric released a press statement to confirm their status as the first company to mass produce optical Thunderbolt cables.

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Current implementations of Thunderbolt operate electronically which pose serious limitations on how far they can effectively transmit. The company currently offers metal-based cables up to a length of approximately 10 feet. With the transition to fibre, Sumitomo will begin manufacturing cables up to 100ft in length.

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Monopriceless expression.

This all comes at the expense of an extra centimeter added in length to each end of the cable. Darn, how will I ever survive? All kidding aside, optical cables do have a serious drawback compared to their electric counterparts. Optical cables are currently unable to provide power to attached devices. This could prove highly annoying if your device requires somewhere below the rated 10W of bus power. This cable will not work in every situation.

There is currently no discussion of expected cost nor is there discussion of how cheap Monoprice will undercut them. Troll lol-lol… lol-lol. Okay, so not all kidding aside.

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January 1, 2013 | 07:49 AM - Posted by Mad_Dane

So you are telling me mobo side TB plugs already support optical cables or am i missing something ?

January 1, 2013 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

The input and output of the optical cable is electric. The infrared-beam is completely internal to the cable. I don't believe the interface can tell the difference between an electric or an optical cable except for the lack of 10W power transmission.

Probably why the heads are an extra centimeter long.

January 3, 2013 | 01:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why don't they just make a hybrid fiber cable, one with fiber for data and copper for power?

I was pretty excited when I first heard about Thunderbolt with its use for optical cables, and supporting encapslating other data on it (such as USB or eSATA), so we could have backwards compatability while moving to a single standard for pretty much everything, but its rollout has been flubbed by not delivering the whole shebang up front and Intel keeping it proprietary so they can charge license fees.

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