Corning's New Optical USB And Thunderbolt Cables Are Up To 100m Long

If you thought screens were where glass started and finished in gadgets, think again. Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass, has also started making optical USB and Thunderbolt cables — and they're super, super long.

The cables are optical instead of your typical wired connection. There's no speed advantage, but because there's less signal attenuation in optical cables than in wire, they can be made extremely long. Corning's USB 3.0 cables will come in lengths of up to 30 metres, but its Thunderbolt cables will be up to 100 metres long. Think about that for a second: it would take the fastest man in the world about 10 seconds to run that distance. That is insane.

Apparently the cables can also be daisy changed together too, so 100 metres isn't the longest distance these cables could span. Sadly, the cables are currently being certified by the powers that be, but Corning hopes they'll be on sale some time in the first quarter of 2013. In terms of price, The Verge reports that they will "comparable" to copper-wired cables — but given that there is no 100m copper counterpart, it's tricky to determine exactly what that means. [Corning, The Verge]



    I wonder how the cables handle power...

      Probably not designed to power a remote device, even if there were also 2 copper strands for power it might not transmit enough juice. So it might need to go into a powered hub first.

    I personally don't know of a single reason I'd need such long cables (at least for USB). But if it works well and it becomes the throughput speeds can be increased as the standards are reviewed and updated.

    As Mick noted however the power over USB is the outstanding question of the day.

      This is really for commercial applications, such as board room and lecture theatre fit outs. The cable runs on those type of jobs can be massive

        Wouldn't they use RCA/HDMI etc to do most things? I know we don't have any instances where such long USB cables would be useful - though before this it really wasn't a possibility - so it might be a case of the tech being ahead of the need.

    "100m USB Cables" are usually two USB -> Cat5 devices linked with cat5 cable.

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