The new system, which goes under the brand name "OP i.Link," is compatible with the existing IEEE1394 communications protocol, which is also known as Firewire or i.Link and uses metallic cables. Like the existing system, it is also intended to be used to network home electronics devices and appliances and carry video, audio or data between them.
Sharp and Sony's new system is based on single-core plastic optical fibre, can use a laser of LED (light emitting diode) as the light source, has a transmission distance of between 60 centimetres and 10 meters and a maximum data speed of 100Mbps. The second version of the system will be able to handle data at rates up to 400Mbps, the companies said in a statement.
Licensing of the technology will begin from 2 April, they said.