What is "Thunderbolt"? Is it an industry standard? What advantages does it offer? Are there any disadvantages?

Asked 30-Oct-2018
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What is "Thunderbolt"? Is it an industry standard? What advantages does it offer? Are there any disadvantages?



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The Apple Thunderbolt Cable lets you connect two Thunderbolt-equipped Mac computers in target disk mode, network two Mac computers with OS X Mavericks, or use your iMac as a display for a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.

Thunderbolt technology supports fast data transfers with two independent channels of 20 Gbps each. MacBook Pro now gives you access to a world of high-resolution displays and high-speed peripherals with one compact port. Thunderbolt comes in two technologies- PCI Express and DisplayPort.
Thunderbolt I/O technology gives you two channels on the same connector with 10 Gbps of throughput in both directions. That makes it ultrafast, and ultra-flexible. You can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800.

Advantages:

1. It's much faster than USB 2.0 or Firewire '800' and it replaces Mini DisplayPort
2. Is backward compatible with the technology so there is no lost investment in displays one already owns.
3. Older display standards can be connected with adapters
4. even USB 2.0 and Firewire '800' peripherals can be connected with adapters as well

Disadvantages:

1. In the short term, Thunderbolt technology is more expensive than the well-established USB and Firewire standards
2. In the long-term, it only supports six daisy-chained devices compared to 127 devices (including hubs, rather than daisy-chaining) for USB and up to 63 devices for Firewire
3. Given Thunderbolt's speed and backward compatibility it seems highly likely that it will be widely adopted by the professional audience for connectivity.