Light Peak Fiber Optic Technology for the PC

light_peak_FullChip_LaserOff_cropUSB 3.0 is the latest and greatest of the USB specs that is becoming available at the moment. However, Intel have some other ideas that include fibre optics for transferring data from device to device.

The new technology displayed by Intel last week at the developer forum is called Light Peak and it allows you to connect many devices to a PC with fibre optic lines. The technology might just seem like an idea for now, but Intel have managed to get endorsement from Sony and are looking to make the technology mainstream.

Intel wont be able to make this happen alone, so rather than trying it alone they are wanting to work with USB to see if they can come up with a fibre optic based USB system.

The new “SuperSpeed” USB 3.0 has 5 gigabit-per-second data transfer rate, more than 10 times that of the USB 2.0 version that prevails today, and the first USB 3.0 device achieved certification last week. A separate new USB feature increases the amount of power that USB devices can use from 0.5 amps to 0.9 amps while adding another 1.5 amps specifically for charging batteries, making USB for tasks besides just transferring data.


“At some point the industry is going to have to transition,” Jeff Ravencraft, the USB-IF’s president and chairman, said in an interview, because copper wires such as those in the current USB 2 and new USB 3 standards have limits on how fast they can transmit signals. “I think the next transition is going to be to optics.”

Light Peak already is in use on pre-production chips and it could be ready to ship next year. As it works not it is capable of transferring data at 10Gbps in both directions. However, Intel have said that in the next decade we could easily see 100Gbps being transferred over Light Peak.

More details including tests of the prototype can be found over at CNET.



  1. as we can see , we still need to have the good old multi layered PC board with copper wires to facilitate the function of the fiber optics. In order to the shutters and modulators to work they need to be operated with voltage/current and not photos, they are in need of current to facilitate their function and open and shut hence mimic other functions that the copper wired chips, IC’s and transistors used to do but a lot faster.

    So in the end, nothing will replace the copper/wire technology, but will replace certain areas of the PC architecture and the fiber optics will make it faster, but on the other end there will always be that silicon/semi conductor based copper connected/wired CHIP.

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