Sumitomo Electric samples optical Thunderbolt cable

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (TOKYO: 5802) (ISIN: JP3407400005) says it has begun shipping samples of its optical Thunderbolt cable.

Apr 17th, 2012

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (TOKYO: 5802) (ISIN: JP3407400005) says it has begun shipping samples of its optical Thunderbolt cable.

The cables will be used at the Thunderbolt demonstration test to be performed at Intel Corp.'s booth during the NAB Show 2012 held by the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas from April 16 to 19, 2012.

Thunderbolt is a high-speed PC connection technology developed by Intel, initially under the name LightPeak. It provides bi-directional 10-Gbps data transmission, and is PCI Express and DisplayPort compatible. While initially focused on providing such transmission via optical fiber, the project’s emphasis switched to a copper-based approach based on customer feedback. Last September, Sumitomo Electric launched its electrical Thunderbolt cable based on Intel's technical specifications.

However, the switch didn’t mean a dead end for fiber-optic efforts, as this announcement from. Sumitomo Electric demonstrates. The optical Thunderbolt cable is an active optical cable that comes in lengths up to 20 m. Connectors at both ends of the cable convert electric signals into optical signals and vice versa. It employs the same interface as the electrical Thunderbolt cable and can be connected to Thunderbolt ports on PC and peripheral devices.

The optical Thunderbolt cable is the same diameter as the electrical Thunderbolt cable (4.2 mm) and therefore handles just as easily, Sumitomo Electric says. The optical fiber will provide high bend performance even when pinched by up to 180 degrees or tangled in knots, the company adds.

"Thunderbolt technology is a groundbreaking new high-speed interconnect technology providing 10-Gbps connectivity to the PC," said Jason Ziller, Intel's Thunderbolt marketing director. "We are very excited to have Sumitomo optical Thunderbolt cable sampling in the market to provide much longer cable lengths to the users that need them, such as media creators."


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