Intel said on Monday that optical cables for Thunderbolt ports will be made available later this year. It had always intended to use optical cables, but because of the high cost of fibre optics, only copper cables are available for now.
Copper cables are good for a few meters in length, but a switch to optical cables will be required for tens of meters. Thunderbolt ports are built into some Macs, and Lenovo and other PC manufacturers will include it in Windows notebooks later this year.
It was co-developed with Apple to provide high-speed data transmission to rival existing standards and eventually consolidate many different types of data connections into one. Thunderbolt promises transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.
Switching to optical cables will eventually help with data transfer rates and the distance between devices, but it also means that external devices will definitely need their own power source, as copper cables offer up to 10 watts of power that can be used by them.
Using optical cables will not require any kind of hardware upgrade for those that already have Thunderbolt ports.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 13 Mar 2012 2:09