Intel’s Light Peak the future of USB 3.0

intel light peak

Only when there was a hipe about the new USB 3.0 with its higher data transfer  of about 5 GBps that will allow data to be transfered ten times faster, Intel has decided not to support native chipset in the second half of 2011 for USB 3.0.  Reason can be the intel’s new project which allows an intial data transfer speed of about 10 GBps. End-users will likely immediately notice that this is twice the speed enabled by the SuperSpeed standard, which has only just begun to make its mark on the world.

The secret behind the optimal performance of Light Peak is the use of Optical technology instead of Electrical cables. One of the major advantages of the technology is that, while it will be compatible with USB 3.0 connectors, the actual connector size can be scaled “way, way down,” which means that the connection should be brought even to handheld devices. The other advantage is that the 10Gbps rate will supposedly scale up to ten times over the next ten years.

“We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0,” Kevin Kahn, an Intel senior fellow, said in a speech at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF). “In some sense we’d… like to build the last cable you’ll ever need.”
Naturally, such a standard would most likely have to compete with existing connectivity solutions, but Intel assures us that, in fact, Light Peak will be compatible and complementary to USB 3.0 ports, not competitive. The company even demonstrated this at IDF through using a laptop connected to a docking station and a monitor. The long, thin cable plugged into the laptop’s USB 3.0 port (with added components that allowed it to receive optical signal). In this setup, Light Peak was able to simultaneously transmit a feed from an HD camera, a Blu-ray video and a duplication of the laptop’s display onto the other screen.

The report also states that Intel is looking to make Light Peak into an standard, with an industry group promoting it expected to launch next year. Intel also intends to see whether the science can be used to improve data centers and, overall, hopes that this innovation will mark a crossover from electrical to optical connectors. The only limitation that seems to make a dent in the perfect picture, at this point, is the inability of the optical fiber to power connected devices, as opposed to USB 3.0 cables that achieve this feat with no problems.

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