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Intel Light Peak ''Launching'' in 2011, Maybe 2012

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 41 comments

Intel's optical-based successor to USB 3.0 may worm its way into products during 2011.

It only makes sense that Intel's Light Peak is the next step after USB 3.0. After all, there's only so much speed you can push across a wire--optical cables however can handle far more data. The new tech is slated to not only provide a transfer rate of 10 Gbps, but will also be backwards compatible with a USB 3.0 port.

With that said, it's no wonder that Intel is pushing its new technology to take the place of the current USB tech in 2011. "We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0," said Intel's Kevin Kahn during a speech at the Intel Developer forum in Beijing (via PCWorld). "In some sense we'd... like to build the last cable you'll ever need."

Kahn said that Intel plans to make the Light Peak technology available late this year, and expects Intel partners to bring Light Peak-enabled devices to the market sometime next year. But with USB 3.0 just recently out the door, Light Peak may not go mainstream until at least the beginning of 2012 if not later.

"We expect both [USB 3.0 and Light Peak] to exist together in the market and perhaps on the same platform at the same time," Kahn said during a presentation. While there's no conflict between the two technologies, Light Peak will still have the upper hand by allowing USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable. The connections are also smaller than USB jacks, an important factor with small mobile devices.

Kahn said that Intel may add Light Peak supports into its chipsets, depending on how fast the industry embraces the new optical technology next year.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    wintermint , April 15, 2010 6:45 PM
    So hard to keep up with all these technological advances.. :( 
  • 17 Hide
    insider3 , April 15, 2010 6:35 PM
    Great. This will give me a reason to finally back up all my porn.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    kresso , April 15, 2010 6:26 PM
    Oh, I have been waiting for commercial applications like this for a long time. I remember going to a physics seminar back in college about using light in this way.
  • 3 Hide
    mavroxur , April 15, 2010 6:28 PM
    This would've made sense to be the successor to USB 2.0 in my opinion. The whole funky USB 3.0 connector concept never sat too well with me. Would be neat to have a USB connector with the optical pass through inside the connector all the way at the back or something, so it would be physically the same as a USB connector.
  • 9 Hide
    doomtomb , April 15, 2010 6:29 PM
    Intel... where's USB 3???
  • 17 Hide
    insider3 , April 15, 2010 6:35 PM
    Great. This will give me a reason to finally back up all my porn.
  • 4 Hide
    helldog3105 , April 15, 2010 6:35 PM
    With as hard as some people can be on cables, they want to give them Optical cables, which cannot be bent past certain angle and maintain a working connection? I see bad things happening with this tech..
  • 4 Hide
    mavanhel , April 15, 2010 6:40 PM
    If I remember correctly, when USB 3.0 came out and the new motherboards were being produced I think Intel said that they were going to stay away from on-die support for USB 3.0 until 2011. So are they just trying to take USB out of Intel systems now?
  • 19 Hide
    wintermint , April 15, 2010 6:45 PM
    So hard to keep up with all these technological advances.. :( 
  • 0 Hide
    gamerk316 , April 15, 2010 7:01 PM
    mavanhelIf I remember correctly, when USB 3.0 came out and the new motherboards were being produced I think Intel said that they were going to stay away from on-die support for USB 3.0 until 2011. So are they just trying to take USB out of Intel systems now?


    Not entirely true; for short distences, its not a concern. Hence why Optical has been used in other consumer applications (SPDIF) for some time now.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2010 7:07 PM
    just put a metal power wire in the same cable
  • 8 Hide
    noneedformonkeys , April 15, 2010 7:10 PM
    I think Intel is right-on to push this tech into the home market. Aside from just being outright cool, high bandwidth optical links have been a standard for interconnecting enterprise solutions for many many years (like the backbone to connecting the everything we know as the internet). Optical links are only limited by total angular reflection, and diffusion of the optical fiber substrate. In theory, optical links can transmit data for thousands of kilometers on a strand, they can transmit data point-to-point at just shy of the true speed of light, and one strand can further multiply it's data bandwidth by sending different data streams at different wavelengths. It may be 10Gbits now, but this tech has the growth potential to handle hundreds of times more bandwidth on the same fiber strand. I am looking forward to optical computing in my lifetime, this tech is another small step in that direction. We should all be excited by this.

    Embrace the future :) 
  • 6 Hide
    rollerdisco , April 15, 2010 7:11 PM
    dreamphantom_1977What about power? Where is that gonna come from?

    PoF Power over Fiber....... i different article i read said they are going to have the fiber braided with copper mesh for strength and also power.
  • 0 Hide
    Emperus , April 15, 2010 7:20 PM
    Its nearing time that wireless modes of data exchange see some boost up in both speed,security and data integrity.. Hopefully someday we'll see them going past the wired transfer rates ( day dreaming you might say.. ).. To stay with the topic, the concept sounds interesting though the claim to be the last cable one will ever need sounds skeptical.. Data transfer rates are something which go by the rule of higher the better.. And with time stamping blu-ray as standard media, one might just start complaining about USB 3 ( or even light peak ) being slow..
  • 4 Hide
    thejerk , April 15, 2010 7:25 PM
    gamerk316Not entirely true; for short distences, its not a concern. Hence why Optical has been used in other consumer applications (SPDIF) for some time now.


    SPDIF is a single-ended co-axial digital cable. TosLink is the plastic
    optical.
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , April 15, 2010 7:26 PM
    Dang I was looking forward to this for low cost 10Gb home networking. I guess I'll have to wire my house with Cat 6 instead as current fiber optic 10Gb solutions are far too expensive.
  • 0 Hide
    thackstonns , April 15, 2010 7:34 PM
    Quote:
    Its nearing time that wireless modes of data exchange see some boost up in both speed,security and data integrity.. Hopefully someday we'll see them going past the wired transfer rates ( day dreaming you might say.. ).. To stay with the topic, the concept sounds interesting though the claim to be the last cable one will ever need sounds skeptical.. Data transfer rates are something which go by the rule of higher the better.. And with time stamping blu-ray as standard media, one might just start complaining about USB 3 ( or even light peak ) being slow..



    Really you think optical media is going to max out lightpeak? What is high def 50mbits per second. That wont even strain a gigabit network, unless you are using multiple streams. 10Gbps is way more than enough for a spinning disk. Although doesnt display port do 21Gbps through wire?.
  • 3 Hide
    Gandalf , April 15, 2010 7:44 PM
    I think I see the light. :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2010 7:57 PM
    Seeing as this cable will be released in 2012 it may really be "last cable you'll EVER need."
  • 0 Hide
    Bruceification73 , April 15, 2010 8:22 PM
    I will be waiting for this. Been longing for a better portable media for a long time.
  • 0 Hide
    Bruceification73 , April 15, 2010 8:24 PM
    Since it is backwards compatible with the 3.0, will it also be recognized by the computer as both USB and CD? This will be very useful.
  • 2 Hide
    audioee , April 15, 2010 8:47 PM
    thejerkSPDIF is a single-ended co-axial digital cable. TosLink is the plasticoptical.


    SPDIF is the data format carried on either the wired coax cable or the Toslink fiber optic connection.
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