Intel's Light Peak technology--slated to debut in Q1 2010--could combine current connectors such as USB, HDMI, and Ethernet using fiber optics.
Last month, Intel revealed its new Light Peak technology, a fiber optic universal connector for computers and other devices. As Intel states on its official website, Light Peak connectors deliver high bandwidth starting at 10 Gb/sec. with the potential ability to scale to 100 Gb/sec. over the next decade. To put this speed in perspective, 10 Gb/sec. can transfer a Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds.
However, when Intel showcased the new technology last month, it wasn't immediately apparent that manufacturers would have a product ready by next year. But according to CNET, Taiwanese optical networking company Foci Fiber Optic Communication will indeed be locked and loaded for mass production sometime around the beginning of 2010. Then again, it shouldn't be surprising: the company was responsible for supplying the components used in Intel's demonstration during the Intel Developers Forum.
Outside the transfer speeds, what' the big deal about Light Peak? In addition to connecting devices and PCs, the technology can perform the same tasks as today's USB, but also connect monitors and networks in the same process. If Light Peak could become an industry standard, Intel's technology could very well fuse together HDMI, FireWire, USB, DVI, Ethernet, DisplayPort, and more. Currently Intel is working on standardizing Light Peak through the USB Implementers Forum.
As for Foci's Light Peak connector getting ready for Q1 2010, its cables will use USB connectors, but not the actual USB cables. Currently the big concern from an industry standpoint is how the Light Peak optical cables will hold up to the consumer market. "The cables are quite durable, and can be connected and disconnected for at least 7,000 times," said Foci's vice president of business development, Janpu Hou. He also added that the company seeks to drop the price to an acceptable level by consumers.