April 17, 2010
Intel’s Light Peak — The End of USB?
“Light Peak is the code-name for a new high-speed optical cable technology designed to connect your electronic devices to each other. Light Peak delivers high bandwidth starting at 10Gb/s with the potential ability to scale to 100Gb/s over the next decade. At 10Gb/s, you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds. Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible. Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more.” says Intels Website.
The applications for this technology and benefits of this technology are obvious. Optical data transmission is obviously going to be superior to metal wire data transmission. But can this be applied large scale? I would be interested to see how they could apply this to say a flash drive. One of the common problems I run into with current flash drives is the amount of time it takes to download a large amount of data from them. Downloading 8gb from a flash drive can take 10 minutes or longer.
Light Peaks bandwidth is really quite impressive, 10gb, and they say they have the capability to expand it to 100gb within the next few years after it’s release. Quite impressive really. Thats about 3 times faster then USB 3.0 is supposed to be.
One issue I see with this is durability of cables. People are very hard on their cabling. Much harder then most people actually realize. Optical cabling is easily damaged by bending and twisting. Even stepping on the cable can crush the fibers and ruin the signal. It will definitely be interesting to see how the technology pans out.
To get more information about Intel’s Light Peak technology head over to their page here. You can also watch a video on the technology below.