On 23rd Sept 2009, Intel, in its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) unveiled a new high speed optical cable technology devised to connect electronic devices to each other, the technology being code named as ‘Light Peak’. Bundles of copper wires to connect your computer to peripherals, disk drives, displays, workstations etc will soon be a matter of past. Let’s find out:
Why is Light Peak necessary?
As of now we only use electrical cable technology in most of the computing devices, but due to electro-magnetic interference and various other issues this technology is reaching its limits in terms of speed and length. This limiting factor (EMI) is overcome with the use of optical fibres, which uses light to transfer data instead of electricity.
Technology Behind Light Peak:
From the little that has been revealed about the technology: All the devices and platforms supporting light peak will consist of a controller chip and an optical module. The optical module, using miniature lasers and photo detectors, converts electricity to light and vice versa.
Why is Light Peak considered as a revolution in device connectivity?
- Its bandwidth start with 10 Gbps and can be scaled up to 100 Gbps
- It can run multiple protocols simultaneously over one cable. This feature makes it possible to connect multiple devices through one port.
- It provides thinner, longer and more flexible cables.
- Intel is working on bundling the optical cables with copper wires so that Light Peak can be used to power devices plugged into PC.
- In near future, it is seen as a replacement to USB, Firewire and HDMI.
Light Peak in is expected to make its way to the market by 2010. Its pricing is still to be decided. There still exists a massive task to standardize this method of device communication and to have ports in devices that support this technology.
Light peak is going to redefine the way we connect to devices, definitely until Intel comes up with something solid from the research it has taken up on Ultra Wideband Technology (UWB) that will enable wireless communication between various devices.
More to come on this technology area … keep reading & commenting!