Optical cables have been around for the longest time but its potential is hardly taken advantage of, except for the age old optical S/PDIF (TOSLINK) used in audio products since the 80s. We all know optics have the potential to transfer large amounts of data at great distances and at very high speeds but optical cable suppliers are rare. Last year alone, we only saw a handful of companies with optical cable products, so it's great to see more entering this market, especially from someone in the glass business like Corning.
At CES this year, Corning introduced its new range of optical cables to meet consumer's needs for long data cables. As a start, Corning will be introducing cables for the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces.
Its USB 3.0 cables are backwards compatible with the USB 2.0 standard and can reach lengths of up to 30 meters at a data transfer rate of 5 GB/s while its Thunderbolt optical cables can reach lengths of up to 100 meters through a dual channel, bi-directional link at 10 Gb/s data rate.
Corning's optical cables also come with a unique cable design known as Corning ClearCurve VSDN optical fiber which allows the glass-based cable to be as durable as comparable copper cables. Even with bending and kinks on the cable, data transfer would not be interrupted and the cable would not suffer any damage similar to other competing optical (or even copper) cables. According to them, their cables will also be significantly smaller (by 50 percent) and about 80 percent lighter as compared to copper cables.
Optical Cables by Corning are targeted to be available for sale through select consumer electronic retail channels by the end of first quarter in 2013. According to Corning, they do not yet have plans to introduce a HDMI optical cable in the near term.