Cosemi has introduced the industry’s first USB 3.1 Gen 2 hybrid active optical cables (hAOC), which enable USB connectivity over distances upwards of 50 meters. The cables will be available with various connectors and therefore will be able to address various applications.

As you might guess from the name, Cosemi’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 hybrid active optical cables use fiber optics for data transfers, which is further paired with copper wires for control and power. The data portion of the cable is fully USB SuperSpeed+ capable, meaning it can transfer 10Gbps in each direction. Notable, since hAOCs can power themselves, unlike other solutions they do not need any extension boxes or repeaters, making them simpler and more reliable. Using fiber for the data channel also means that the cables are more resistant against EM and RF interference, which is particularly important for medical applications.

The manufacturer plans to offer hAOCs with various types of connectors, including USB Type-A to USB Type-A, USB Type-A to USB Type-C, as well as USB Type-C to USB Type-C, with A-to-C cables being the first type out the door. And while the cables are best geared for high bandwidth applications, like copper USB 3.1 Gen 2 cables, the hybrid active optical cables are backwards compatible with the USB 2.0 spec.

Last but not least, it's interesting to note that Cosemi’s hAOCs do not use PVC. As it turns out, this is a requirement for in-wall cables in the Americas, EMEA and Asia, as PVC produces toxic smoke when it burns.

Cosemi’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 hybrid active optical cables are sampling today, and mass production is set to start in March. The devices will be available later this year from various Cosemi’s partners, including Amazon, Liberty AV Solutions, and other. The manufacturer is not setting an MSRP quite yet, but tells us to expect them to be “competitive to USB extension box solutions.”

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Source: Cosemi

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  • stanleyipkiss - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    What is the latency?
  • SirMaster - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link


    The USB protocol wont tolerate more than that so it can't be more than that.
  • name99 - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    "As it turns out, this is a requirement for in-wall cables in the Americas, EMEA and Asia,"

    Isn't it simpler to just say that this is a world-wide requirement? Where exactly DOESN'T fit into "the Americas, EMEA and Asia"? Antarctica? Rockets?
  • b0e57d1d - Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - link

    Australia and nearby island countries.
  • boozed - Friday, February 15, 2019 - link

    Australia and/or Oceania are often lumped under Asia for distribution.

    And Australia's electrical standards are pretty similar to those in Europe.
  • GreenReaper - Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - link

    Yeah. That bit didn't sound super-interesting to me. Maybe Russia is not considered part of EMEA for this purpose? Although a lot of it is Asia as well as Europe.
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - link

    Depending on price, robustness and reliability, this could be of interest for digital video, especially on-site recording and backups. Along that line, a TB 3 optical could be useful, too. A key issue with USB 3 and up (3.1, other flavors) is that the ability to transmit at really high data rates diminishes quickly with distance starting at 50 cm. But, for this cable here to hold up, it needs to be mechanically robust, have some abrasion resistance, basically survive at least some abuse to be field-worthy. Unrelated to the optical here, does anybody here have experiences/recommendations for a significantly cheaper, shorter distance solution for USB 3.1, so about 1.5 - 3 meters long, maybe just with thicker copper wiring?
  • Ultra2SE213FanTC - Sunday, May 5, 2019 - link

    Don't buy from Cosemi! They are a private company that doesn't cater to consumers!
  • Ultra2SE213FanTC - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Also Cosemi will be expensive with Made in China because President Trump jack up the Tariffs on Chinese goods. That way if stuff will be Made in USA, stuff made in USA will be cheaper.

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