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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Intel's Light Peak Technology Ready But Will Be Initially Be Based on Copper Wires

An Intel executive on Friday said that its Light Peak interconnect technology, designed to link PCs to devices like displays and external storage, is ready for implementation.

Light Peak was originally designed to use fiber optics to transmit data among systems and devices, but the initial builds will be based on copper, said David Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Architecture Group, in an interview with IDG News Service at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"The copper came out very good, surprisingly better than what we thought," Perlmutter said. "Optical is always a new technology which is more expensive," he added.

Intel had showacesed the Light Peak technology at IDF 2010 last April. Light Peak consists of a controller chip and an optical module that would be included in platforms supporting this technology. The optical module performs the conversion from electricity to light and vice versa, using miniature lasers and photo detectors. Intel is planning to supply the controller chip, and is working with other component manufacturers to deliver all the Light Peak components.

Light Peak is currently offering a bandwidth of up to 10Gbs - already twice as fast as USB 3.0 - with the potential ability to scale to 100Gb/s over the next decade. It also supports multiple existing I/O protocols over a single cable, allowing for a smooth transition for today's existing electrical I/O protocols. It can also connect to more devices with the same cable, or to combo devices such as docking stations.

Intel claims that Light Peak is complementary to existing I/O technologies sucj as the USB 3.0, as it enables them to run together on a single cable at higher speeds.

Intel has in the past said that devices with Light Peak technology would start shipping in late 2010 or early this year.

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