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Sumitomo Electric Acquires Thunderbolt 3 Certification for Active Optical Cables

Thunderbolt 3 AOC
Thunderbolt 3 AOC

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. is proud to announce that it has acquired Thunderbolt 3 certification for its new active optical cables (AOCs) from Intel Corporation, the company that established the Thunderbolt 3 standard. Sumitomo Electric developed 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 AOCs for high-speed transmission to meet the needs for long-distance transmission.

Thunderbolt is a general-purpose fast data transmission standard for data communication between a personal computer and peripheral devices such as displays.*1 Sumitomo Electric undertook the development of Thunderbolt cables based on technical specifications disclosed by Intel, the developer of the technology. In 2010, Sumitomo Electric acquired the world’s first Thunderbolt certification. In November 2015, the Company obtained another certification for Thunderbolt 3 cables (electric cables) that enable 40 Gbps transmission.*2 Since then, Sumitomo Electric has been selling Thunderbolt 3 cables as a major vendor of the products.

The Thunderbolt 3 cables currently in the market feature a maximum transmission speed of 40 Gbps and a maximum length of 2.0 m,*3 and are often used for multiple 4K displays and gaming PCs. In the fields of video production and virtual reality, there are growing needs for longer-distance transmission cables. Against this backdrop, Sumitomo Electric developed the Thunderbolt 3 AOCs*4 by combining its optical fiber cable technology with its optical module technology. The Thunderbolt 3 AOCs enable transmission up to 50 m, while maintaining a transmission speed of 40 Gbps.
Based on the certified technology, Sumitomo Electric will explore the possibility of developing products to meet the market demand for long-distance transmission.


*1 The Thunderbolt technology is a standard for fast general-purpose data transmission developed by Intel Corporation in collaboration with Apple Inc.

*2 This is the maximum transmission rate achievable when the cable is used to connect Thunderbolt 3-compatible devices.

*3 Sumitomo Electric offers active electric cables of up to 2.0 m whose connector at both ends incorporates a signal compensation IC, and passive electric cables of up to 0.8 m whose connector at both ends does not incorporate a signal compensation IC.

*4 Thunderbolt 3 AOCs support only Thunderbolt signals as fast signals. These optical cables do not support power supply. They support Mac computers only.

  • Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.
  • Mac is a trademark of Apple Inc. registered in the United States and other countries.
  • Other company names and product names in this news release are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.

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