“Optical cables for Thunderbolt ports that enable faster data transfers over longer distances on computers such as Apple’s Macintosh will be available later this year, Intel said Monday,” Agam Shah reports for Computerworld.
“Thunderbolt, introduced just over a year ago, is a high-speed connector technology that shuttles data among computers and with peripherals,” Shah reports. “Current Thunderbolt installations are based on copper, but optical cables could provide more bandwidth and longer cable runs in the future, according to Dave Salvator, an Intel spokesman.”
Shah reports, “Thunderbolt was co-developed by Apple and Intel and is considered a faster alternative to USB 3.0, with transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. A full-length, high-definition movie can be transferred from an external storage device to a laptop in less than 30 seconds.”
“The upside to optical is that it allows for longer cable runs, and as the technology develops, more bandwidth, Salvator said in email. But when connected via optical cables, devices that need power also require their own power supply. Running power over longer optical cable runs may not be practical due to impedance-induced power drop,” Shah reports. “Copper has the advantage of providing up to 10 watts of power, which saves a device from requiring a power outlet, Salvator said.”
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