Intel unfurls copper-killing optical cables
Light Peaks next year
IDF Intel plans to replace your LAN, storage, and HD video cables with a single high-speed optical cable based on a technology it calls Light Peak.
Announced Wednesday morning at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the 10Gbps interconnect uses a optical cable that can span up to 100 meters, according to Dadi Perlmutter, EVP of the company's new Intel Architecture Group.
An Intel release added that Light Peak's throughput has "the potential ability" to increase to 100Gbps in the next ten years, but that even at 10Gbps, "a user could transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds."
In addition to simplifying cabling, the replacement of multiple ports with a single optical port - presumably based on Intel's recent advances in silicon photonics - would enable more-compact laptop and handheld form factors.
Permutter noted that Sony has expressed interest in Light Peak and quoted that company's VAIO director, Ryosuke Akahane, as being "extremely excited about the potential of the Light Peak technology."
Light Peak components will be available next year, but Permutter admitted that the transition from multiple copper cables to a single optical one will be lengthy. As he put it, "There's going to be a long-term opticalization." ®
The Reg spoke Wednesday afternoon with Intel Senior Fellow and director of the company's Communications Technology Lab Kevin Kahn, who told us that our presumption that Light Peak was based on Intel's work with silicon photonics was incorrect, and that Light Peak uses conventional Vixel technology. Silicon photonics, Kahn told us, will most likely approach cost effectiveness when optical-interconnect speeds reach the 25Gbps threshold.
just say NO to DRM
If Sony has their hand up the arse of this project there has to be some new DRM scheme attached to it some how. They can burn.
@Henry Wertz 1
> What really is the market for it?
Erm... How long is a piece of string?
What about portable / compact iphone style devices with very limited internal storage, but access to huge high speed storage arrays via a single cable?
Or connecting direct from your motherboard to an external monitor with its own internal / standalone high speed video card (unlimited monitors off a single machine)?
How about adding extra CPUs to a low power device as external USB dongle style devices?
Or recording 32 track live audio in real time on a netbook sized machine using multiple external audio interfaces and highspeed external drives?
Or recording multiple live HD video streams direct from external video cameras to external HDD and bluray (see above).
People don't just use personal computers for games and spreadsheets. ;)
My dream cable would be this optical one, with at least two copper wires incorporated to enable it to transfer power at the same time, and with the ability to attach a splitter or combiner at each end so that you could replace several cables with one. It could use different coloured lasers so each stream would remain completely independent and get the full 10Gb. I'd love to have one cable that I plug into my laptop at home, which further down the cable fans out into an ethernet connection to the router, audio connection to the sound system, USB hub to drive the mouse and other legacy bits I don't care to replace right now, and HDMI to the TV. And supplies power to the laptop. Starting to sound like a docking station.