USB4 fiber-optic cables provide up to 40 Gbps connectivity at 5 meters

March 24, 2022
Taiwan's BKSTEC and its partners have created what is billed as the first-ever USB4 Gen 3x2 fiber optic cables, good for providing connectivity up to 40 Gbps at 5 meters.

BKSTEC (Taiwan), a developer and manufacturer of fiber-optic cables, announced on March 17 what the company and its partners bill as the world's first USB4 fiber-optic cables.

Developed in collaboration with FOCI Fiber Optic Communications, Inc. and IC design company Rafael Micro, the developed cables are compliant with USB4 Gen 3x2 protocols, providing nominal dual-lane data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, or twice the bandwidth of current USB 3.0 cable products.

As noted by the partners, "Fiber-optic cables eclipse traditional copper and modern wireless network solutions in terms of data bandwidth and are currently the only way to achieve data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, the ultimate destination of USB4. The BKSTEC USB4 fiber-optic cables are lightweight and flexible, making them ideal for the latest VR, AR, and Metaverse applications, providing reliable, responsive and fast data transfers that power next-generation immersive experiences."

"As a pioneer of fiber-optic cable components, FOCI is delighted to joint-engineer with BKSTEC to produce the world's first full bandwidth USB4 fiber optic cable solutions," commented DD Hu, GM of FOCI. "Our dedication to advancing fiber-optic technology is helping to create a more connected world, including the broader metaverse eco-systems of tomorrow."

"Our mission at Rafael Micro has always been to provide partners with market-leading CMOS solutions that go the extra mile in terms of performance and compatibility," added Ted Sun, CEO. "We are proud that our unique background as a worldwide leader of custom IC designs has contributed to the first-ever USB4 optic cable solution."

Technical notes

The BKSTEC USB4 cables have an outer dimension of only 4.5mm, are available at lengths of up to five meters and use slim, rotationally symmetrical USB Type-C connectors.

The cables have been developed to ensure USB 3.2 backward compatibility, as well as full support for USB Power Delivery so that connected headsets and other devices can be powered and charged while connected.

Importantly, BKSTEC said it employs rigorous testing to eliminate all possibilities of a connection failure, signal loss, or interference.

The company said that all of its USB4 cables are tested in terms of bending stress, signal integrity, compression resilience and compatibility to ensure that they meet the highest industrial standards.

"By harnessing more than twenty years of cable manufacturing experience we are able to deliver the first cables that fully exploit the potential bandwidth of USB4," concluded BKSTEC chairman Sean Chen. "USB4 fiber-optic cables are poised to reshape the way we interact with the world, playing a vital role in next-generation Metaverse, VR, and AR applications."

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