April 2014 Anthony Garland
USB 3.0 has always been a short distance standard and any scenarios involving distances over 3 meters was simply not on the minds of the USB-IF design team. Thanks to Corning, this is about to change as they now have 10m cables. To extend cable length without sacrificing data integrity, Corning thought outside the box, and has gone with glass instead of copper.
These USB 3.0 extension cables are made using Corning’s ClearCurve VSDN optical fiber. This not only allows them to be 50% thinner, but also 80% lighter than typical USB 3.0 cables. Additionally, these cables boasts zero-bend radius, and are said to be durable enough to tangled or even pinched without issue – two of which will be a godsend to professionals installing them.
Corning guarantees backward compatibility for USB 2.0 devices. The only fly in the ointment is that while you can plug them into any USB device, they may not work until a firmware/driver update comes about. Also, these cables will be able to provide long distance data communications, but they will not transport power. This means that you will need to power the devices on the other end of via an external power source.
Last but not least is they cost $129 and unless you need USB 3.0, there are cheaper options for older USB 2.0 already available. To be fair these none of these issues are insurmountable, and the future certainly looks a lot brighter for USB in the professional workplace.