The Thunderbolt 3 standard has been available for approximately four years, but cable lengths have generally been limited to a few meters due to signal degradation over long distances from copper cables. While using Thunderbolt 3 copper cables limits the length, it offers additional features such as the ability to carry power and use USB modes at slower speeds.
is an alternative to copper cables that allow longer cable lengths, and these are fiber optic cables that use light to transmit signals over long distances with high fidelity. While there were optical versions of Thunderbolt 1 and 2 cables, the Thunderbolt 3 standard has been slow to advance the market for optical cables.
The market for Thunderbolt optical cables is relatively small due to their cost and the fact that the vast majority of users do not have to lay cables longer than a few meters, but for those who need long cables, Thunderbolt has to wait 3 cables were long.
However, this wait finally seems to be over as we begin to see signs that the cables are coming onto the market. The Taiwanese company Areca recently launched optical Thunderbolt 3 cables, which are available in lengths of 10, 20 and 30 meters. The cables are available from B&H, but at prices of $ 559, $ 699, and $ 799, these cables are obviously only intended for professional users who need the highest performance over long distances. And keep in mind that these cables can only transmit Thunderbolt 3 data and do not use USB or power connected devices.
B & H is currently listing the expected availability of 7 to 10 business days for all three cable lengths and Areca. I learned a few weeks ago that deliveries were somewhat limited as the factories were still trying to restart production. Areca tells me that in addition to the cables shown at B & H, the company is also planning a 50-meter cable on special order and has also considered a shorter 5.5- or 6-meter cable, although the minimal price difference between this and the 10 meter version may not make it worthwhile.
One of the most important manufacturers of optical cable manufacturers have followed Thunderbolt 3 cables searched for Corning, and it appears that the cables are also about to be launched. A MacRumors reader let us know that Corning cables appear on websites of some European resellers such as MacConsult in lengths from 5.5 to 50 meters. Based on these listings, Corning's pricing looks like it would start at around $ 400 in the US, a little less than Areca, but still outside the average consumer range.
Corning tells me that trade shows of its Thunderbolt 3 optical cables have been shown at trade shows in recent years but is not yet ready to be officially released and has shared the following statement:
Corning & # 39; s Thunderbolt 3 cables have not yet been launched publicly, although we have shown preliminary examples at industry events. We look forward to their launch, although no date has yet been set.
It is likely that Corning is still awaiting final certification from Intel and that a distributor may be a step ahead in releasing preliminary offers to some resellers, but hopefully we can expect Corning cables to be released soon Market come.
The annual NAB show in April would have been a good opportunity for Corning to launch its cables when Intel's final certification is imminent, but like almost every other show, NAB 2020 has been canceled, so must we'll see what Corning is going to do.
Thunderbolt 3 optical cables come onto the market just as Intel started teasing Thunderbolt 4, although it is unclear what the differences between them are. The two versions will offer the same maximum transmission speeds. USB4 will also be launched in the relatively near future and will essentially combine Thunderbolt 3 and USB with Thunderbolt 3's theoretical maximum speeds of 40 Gbit / s.