Slim for SuperSpeed

Leoni banking on parallel pairs for new USB 3.0 cable

Friesoythe – The new Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0 specifications require data transfer rates of 5 GBit/s in SuperSpeed-mode. Unlike the step from USB 1.1 to USB 2.0, upgrading to SuperSpeed-mode requires new cables and connectors allowing full-duplex data transfer in addition to the increased bandwidth. In developing their new FieldLink® USB 3.0 solution, Leonis’ Business Unit Industrial Solutions have broken new ground. The additional two shielded differential pairs required by specifications are implemented as parallel strands. The resulting cable is suitable for applications that demand normal flexibility, but features a smaller diameter and less weight than comparable products.

In 2009, the USB Implementers Forum released the final revision of USB 3.0 specifications. Accordingly, USB 3.0 connectors are required to include five additional electrical contacts, while two additional shielded differential pairs (SDP) complete the new USB cables. They are integrated alongside the old data pair (D+/D–) and two ground wires. In order to comply with EMC-thresholds, the cable core is fitted with further shielding.

In developing their new USB 3.0 cable for fixed installation and applications demanding normal flexibility in rough industrial environments, Leoni managed to produce a cable capable of transferring data to USB 3.0 standard while retaining a very slim outer diameter of 5.7 mm.

While twisted-pair strands are common in USB cables, Leonis’ new development uses a parallel-strand solution similar to the one they employ in high-speed data-transfer cables for data centers since 2004. These separately shielded pairs with copper core are truly high-performance strands, capable of transmitting up to 10 GBit/s in certain configurations.

The new Leoni USB 3.0 cable transmits 5 Gbit/s and has a return loss of 4.7 db/m at wire diameters of 28 AWG (0.09 mm²) and an insertion loss of up to 7.5 GHz.

The maximal Skew is 15 ps/m at a resistance of 90 Ω. The outer cable sheathing is made from polyurethane (PUR); the cable is halogen-free and certified for internal use in accordance with UL AWM.

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