Intel, as a company, craves speed. The company designs lightning fast processors for most computing applications and has a hand in creating products from motherboard chipsets to flash memory and network interface controllers to DRAM chips.
If there is a product within a computer that can increase or accentuate speed in all of its forms, Intel is producing, manufacturing, or researching that product as we speak. The newest offering by Intel is a replacement for PCI-E communication cabling.
A few years back, Intel decided to attack the bottleneck of data cabling in server environments. Currently, the single largest issue dealing with data transmission and communication in a server environment stems from the copper cabling. The current standards for server communication are PCI-E at 8 Gbps and networking cables at nearly 40 Gbps.
These are significantly quick speeds, yet the reading and writing capabilities of new flash-based storage drives are beginning to surpass its capabilities. There is also the issue of the physical space that bulky copper cabling takes up.
In a server environment, the current standard of copper cabling contributes to the cost of cooling server farms, which spends as much as 50% of operating costs on cooling alone.
Optical Base Communications
Enter Intel’s new optical based communication technology. The researchers at Intel have found a way to use the properties of light to create a 5mm diameter cable capable of transmitting light-based communication protocols at speeds of up to 100 Gbps.
Along with this breakthrough, the researchers had to also create miniature laser-transmitters and chips that translate electrical signal communications into optical communication. Each of these new technologies had to combine into a size small enough to be used in servers with limited space.
Intel was successful in each of the major technological breakthroughs needed to produce the new technology and has announced that mass production of a first generation version of the new product is currently underway. Reports indicate that companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Rackspace have already committed to using the new technology.