HOMESite MapContact Us
Global NetworkProductsCorporateInvestor RelationsR & DCSR

Newsletter "SEI NEWS" 2013

Home > Company Information > SEI WORLD > Back number > Vol.431

[Newsletter "SEI NEWS" Vol.431]

Interface Cables Provided by Sumitomo Electric

Sumitomo Electric has developed and commercialized various types of interface cables including Thunderbolt high-speed data transmission cables and thin mobile high-definition link (MHL) cables. The Thunderbolt cables are used to connect Macs and PCs and their peripherals, while the MHL cables are used to connect smartphones to TV sets and other audiovisual apparatus in order to enjoy video images and sounds on large screens.


Features of Thunderbolt cables

Feature 1: Bidirectional data transmission at a high rate of 10 Gbps

With a maximum input/output data transmission rate of 10 Gbps, which is about 20 times that of conventional USB2.0 (480 Mbps) and twice that of USB3.0 (5 Gbps), Thunderbolt is a high-speed data transmission technology. Thunderbolt cables made by Sumitomo Electric help to enhance work efficiency by dramatically saving time for large-volume data transmission.

Feature 2: Supply of 10 W bus power

Thunderbolt is compatible with two basic technologies: PCI Express and Displayport. The former is a data transmission technology, while the latter is an image output technology. Use of a Mini Display Port, a miniature connector, is enough to transmit data, output monitor signals, and supply power at the same time.

Feature 3: Daisy chain connection of (a maximum of) six peripherals to a PC

Thunderbolt is available for a daisy chain connection of multiple peripherals, which simplifies cable layout. Complicated port branching is now unnecessary, even when increasing the number of peripherals. A total of up to six displays, HDDs, and other peripherals can be connected to a single PC in a daisy chain configuration.


All about Thunderbolt

■What is Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt cables

Thunderbolt is a high-speed transmission technology co-developed by Intel Corporation and Apple Inc. This technology is a leading-edge interface that innovatively changes the environment of Macs and PCs and their peripherals.

Based on the Thunderbolt technical specifications disclosed by Intel Corporation, Sumitomo Electric began to develop a 10 Gbps high-speed Thunderbolt cable and commercialized it in April 2012. Since then, the Company has been steadily expanding the product lineup, and released in December 2012 an optical fiber cable available for data transmission over a long distance of up to 30 m, and in June 2013, a thin cable whose cross sectional area is about 42% that of conventional cables.

Lineup and specifications of Thunderbolt cables
Transmission medium Metal Optical
【first in the world!】
Standard diameter Small diameter
【first in the world!】
Number of channels 2
Data transmission rate per channel 10Gbps
Data transmission capacity 20Gbps
Cable outside diameter 4.2mm 3.2mm 4.2mm
Cable length 0.3m, 0.5m, 1.0m, 1.5m, 2.0m, 3.0m 0.3m, 0.5m
1.0m, 2.0m
10m, 20m, 30m
Cable color Black and white Black
Connector length
Bus power supply Possible (10W) Impossible
Other Daisy chain connection of up to 6 peripherals to a PC
Comparison of Thunderbolt cable with other major interfaces
Standard Thunderbolt USB2.0 USB3.0
Data transmission rate Bidirectional 10Gb/s Bidirectional 480Mb/s Bidirectional 5Gb/s
Cable length Metal: 3m max.
Optical: 30m max.
5m max. 3m max.

・Supports data and image transmission protocols

・Enables daisy chain connection of peripherals

・Supplies power of up to 10W

・For data transmission

・Dendritic connection

・Power supply: 2.5W max.

・For data transmission

・Dendritic connection

・Power supply: 4.5W max.


Thunderbolt cables made by Sumitomo Electric are directly available on Amazon Marketplace at You can select the cable most suitable for your needs from a wide variety of cables. Users appreciate the flexibility of these cables that facilitate cable routing.


All about thin MHL cable

■General description of thin MHL cable

MHLis a high-speed interface suitable for enjoying video and sound by connecting MHL-compliant smartphones to TV sets and other audio equipment. This interface provides a maximum image quality of 1080 p/60 fps and high-quality 8-channel surround sound. This interface also supplies electric power from the TV set and audio equipment, making it possible for you to charge your smartphone while watching video and listening to audio.

In MHL cable development, Sumitomo Electric employed its unique cable design technology and succeeded in making the cable about 1 mm thinner than traditional cables. With an outside diameter as small as 3.1 mm and superior flexibility, the MHL cable is very easy to use.

Thin MHL cable


Schematic illustration of cable connection

Specifications of the thin MHL cable
Model MHL 1
Outside diameter 3.1mm
Length 1.2m
Connector configuration USB micro B (on smartphone side)
HDMI type A (on TV set, audio equipment, or vehicle-mounted device side)
Features of MHL standard ・Transmittable image quality: 1080 p/60 fps max.s
・Transmittable sound quality: 8-channel digital audio
・Chargeable current: 500 mA min.
・Mobile terminals can be operated by TV/AV amplifier remote controller

On July 23, 2013, Sumitomo Electric began selling MHL cables on Amazon Marketplace at We highly recommend these cables.

Sumitomo Electric Thunderbolt cable
Sumitomo Electric Thin MHL cable
2013 Index
(C) 2015 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.
Using This SitePrivacy Policy