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Corning bringing ultra-long optical Thunderbolt, USB cables to market in Q1

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Corning optical cables
Corning optical cables

Corning may be best known for the hardened Gorilla Glass found on a countless number of smartphones, but the company also has a cabling business on the side. And while it's largely been geared toward enterprise to this point, Corning is preparing to enter the consumer space with optical Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 cables. To be clear, there are no speed advantages when choosing optical wiring over existing fiber solutions. Where optical bests the competition is wire length: Corning's USB cables will be come in sizes up to 100 feet. But the real draw here is those Thunderbolt cables, which will carry high-speed data across maximum lengths of 330 feet — trouncing cables currently on the market.

The test setup we saw involved a Thunderbolt drive hooked up to a MacBook Pro with the company's longest cable. From there, a Thunderbolt display was daisy-chained with another 100-foot cable, totaling 430 feet in all — longer than a football field. Yet Thunderbolt's throughput remained unhampered as indicated by the speed tests below. Corning says its optical cables are currently going through certification but it expects them to reach retail sometime this quarter. As for price, the company is saying only that it will charge rates "comparable" to copper-wired cables.