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Light Peak to be future successor of USB

Barely a year ago, Intel made waves when it announced its Light Peak technology, which boasted speeds more than twice than those of SATA2. Today, Intel talks about the future of Light Peak and their plans for it.

Read on for more information.

If Intel were to have its way, all our devices will soon be connected to our computers via a single interface, and not with copper wires, but with optical cables.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, senior Intel fellow Kevin Khan outlined Intel’s plans for Light Peak, stating that the technology will be made available in the later part of the year, and that “they were expecting partners to start shipping devices with the technology by next year”.

It seemed that Intel also had lofty ambitions with Light Peak technology, with Kahn calling it a “logical future successor to USB 3.0”, even though the new USB 3.0 standard has yet to reach mainstream status, and that Light Peak had the potential to be “the last cable you’ll ever need”.

While current standards today dictate a dedicated cable for most protocols, head of Intel Labs Justin Rattner believes that Light Peak will do away with the need for having individual cables, as the technology is capable of serving multiple protocols with a single Light Peak optical cable all at once, greatly reducing the need for extra wiring.

However, Kahn was insistent that Light Peak and USB 3.0 would not be conflicting technologies; instead, he sees both of them as complimentary, as “Light Peak enables USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable and at higher speeds”.

Kahn also said that the USB 3.0 port will be the most likely interface for Light Peak to start with due to its widespread usage, but said that in time, it may allow for much smaller ports to be used, a vital aspect of mobile device designs like notebooks and handheld computers.

This would make sense, as Intel had previously demonstrated Light Peak running through USB port, as shown below:

He also said that Intel would consider having built-in support for Light Peak it its own chipsets, but that would be dependent on the rate of adoption for Light Peak.

Either way, it is clear to all that Intel is banking on optical technology, having argued that copper cables are fast reaching the threshold of their capabilities. And if Intel does manage to pull it off, the dream of ultra-high-speed client computing may not remain as a dream for long.

Source: PC World via X-bit Labs

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