Sumitomo Electric has received certification from Intel for new optical Thunderbolt cabling. This new cabling system is compatible with existing Thunderbolt-equipped Macs, and provides the ability to place peripherals up to 30 meters (~100 feet) away from a Mac. Additionally, even at the 30-meter length, the optical Thunderbolt cable still provides up to 10 Gbps data transmission speed.
Optical Thunderbolt cable
The advantage of optical Thunderbolt cabling is primarily the distance that can be achieved while retaining maximum performance levels. For many, this will mean having the option to place noisy devices, such as storage arrays, PCIe expansion chassis, or audio/video interfaces, into soundproof closets or move peripherals closer to where they're used.
The downside to optical Thunderbolt cabling is that the cable can't deliver power to the peripheral device. Instead, all peripherals must have local power supplies.
The new cabling system is expected to be available in the first half of 2013; Sumitomo Electric hasn't yet set pricing.