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Light Peak is 100 gigabits
Post by Nathan Morris with Sunnyvale Bandwidth Allocators
and Builders, 2.24.11
Intel has confirmed tales going around that it's temporarily
switching to copper wires for use in the company's Light Peak connection technology.
While that might make some not too happy, those who were looking forward to the, actual light transfer part of Light
Peak—fiber-optic cabling—it will get Intel into the ecosphere faster.....
In an interview with the IDG Carrier Service,
Intel executive vice president David Pealeal said that Light Peak is ready to be used by device
makers, beating initial estimates that the connection technology would be ready by a target date of 2012.
Apple's been one of the biggies rumored to be looking into putting Light Peak into its product
lineup as early as May of 2011.
And Sony, longtime backer of Light Peak,
is said to be implementing the connection technology into products as well.
Although data transmission speeds will reach higher levels with fiber optic cabling—including
a proposed scale of up to 100 gigabits per second within a decade—the reality on the ground
is that optical cabling is quite expensive compared to copper.
Intel talkers have indicated that the company will
still be able to hit its initial target of 10 gigabits per second using copper cabling which,
itself, will be more than adequate for the typical short connection lengths needed by computer consumers.
past demonstrations and announcements, Intel has trumpeted a future where the myriad of external connectors—USB,
Firewire, network cables, monitor cables, etcetera—are
blended into a single, unified Light Peak connection. However, the company has so far been reluctant to speak to which specific
technologies Light Peak might replace.
The technology obviously puts the recently released
USB 3.0 protocol into the crosshairs, given that the maximum throughput
of a Light Peak connection—10 gigabits
per second—is more than double that of USB 3.0's maximum transfer rate
of 4.8 gigabits per second.
However, Intel has
also spoken to the two connections being more complementary than competitive.
Light Peak, after all,
could fuel the actual cabling itself that runs underneath the USB 3.0 protocol, leading to longer
(and thinner) wiring whose transfer speeds are only limited by the conventions of the protocol it connects. And as we mentioned
earlier, Light Peak could also be used to connect, say, a computer to a single hub device, which then fuels accessory connections
instead of having a mess of wires stemming out from one's desktop PC.
No matter what, however,
Intel will have to switch to fiber optics its full dreams for the connection technology are to be achieved. Until
then, getting the connection out earlier might be just what Intel needs to convince the rest of the market to get the super
throughput and bandwidth.....