Cosemi has introduced new USB 3.1 Gen 2 active optical cables, which support full speed USB connections at distances of up to 100 meters. The cables are designed primarily for industrial applications.

Cosemi’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 active optical cables feature a USB Type-A connector on one side as well as a USB Type-B connector with a screw locking mechanism on another side. The cables can enable data transfers at up to 10 Gbps speed, but they cannot power devices (which is what hybrid active optical cables are needed for), which somewhat limits applications they can address.

USB 3.1 Gen 2 active optical cables like the ones offered by Cosemi are primarily used to connect industrial equipment, such as machine vision systems, to computers located off the factory floor without using expensive signal booster solutions. Considering the fact that more and more industrial equipment is becoming 'intelligent' and requires full time data connections, such long USB cables will be needed. Depending on exact environments, Cosemi will offer its optical cables in standard flex or super high-flex versions.

Cosemi said that it would begin sampling of its USB 3.1 Gen 2 active optical cables in Q1 2020. Commercial shipments will begin later, whereas pricing will depend on the length as well as flexibility.

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Source: Cosemi

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  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    For industrial use (especially in power stations), optical connections have the advantage of electrical isolation. Under fault conditions there can be high voltage transients between different parts of the plant - optical connections remove this as a cause for concern.
  • edzieba - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Micro B?! What in the flying F#$&? Who on earth would be using USB 3.1 Gen 2, and paying the premium for extended optical transceiver cables, but not also using Type C? Rules it out for such fan applications like a 100m VR tether for Oculus Quest, for example.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    It actually looks like that horrid USB 3.0 Micro-B connector that Samsung used on 1 model of phone, which makes it even more odd.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Good, I can turn the screen brightness on my phone up without worrying about draning the battery while I'm puttering around in my yard.
  • QinX - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    I hope you understand that these cables don't transmit power. It's even stated in the article.
  • PeachNCream - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Why do you insist on crushing my dreams of being an incoherent elderly person aimlessly wandering my yard in bunny slippers with a 100m long USB cable dragging along behind my phone that is blasting distorted electro and dance tracks from its internal speaker?
  • Hardware Geek - Friday, December 6, 2019 - link

    Maybe they'll offer a hybrid cable that does transmit power. Sure it'll be $100/meter, but that's a small price to pay for distorted electro whilst wearing bunny slippers. Don't give up on your dreams!
  • TheSkullCaveIsADarkPlace - Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - link

    I will pay $100/m for such an optical USB cable only if it is oxygen-free. Can't have the audio quality being mangled by the cable. No, no, I am not going to buy any barely functional junk from the dollar store...
  • futrtrubl - Sunday, December 8, 2019 - link

    By "full speed USB" do they mean USB at full USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds or do they mean "USB 1.1/Full-Speed: 12 Mbps"?

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