Intel Announces Frickin’ Chips With Frickin’ Laser Beams
Intel’s Light Peak high-speed optical cable technology hasn’t even arrived at market yet and already the company has developed a successor that transmits data five times as fast. Dubbed Silicon Photonics Link, it uses chips with integrated hybrid silicon lasers to transfer data over a fiber-optic cable at speeds of 50 gigabits per second. That’s fast enough to download a high definition movie or 100 hours of music in a single second.
The technology is still about five years away from market and its first commercial applications will likely be in data centers and supercomputer facilities, but advances in chip manufacturing and economies of scale may someday bring it to the consumer market. And by then it should be quite a bit faster.
“This milestone marks the beginning of silicon photonics in the high-volume marketplace, in applications from [high-performance computing] all the way down to the client [PC]”, said Mario Paniccia, director of Intel’s (INTC) Photonics Technology Lab. “We call it a concept vehicle, but we’ve done the key things that would need to be addressed to commercialize it. We see a clear development path from 50 Gbits per second today to a terabit in the future.”