Forget USB 3.0, Light Speed promises up to 100 Gbit/s

by: Bradley Wint on April 16th, 2010 at 11:45 am

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With USB 3.0 hitting the markets earlier this year, analysts are speculating that it may not be the big hit as it may be. Intel has yet to integrate the 3.0 ports onto their motherboards, and with the announcement earlier this year of their Light Peak technology, it looks like USB 3.0 may not be as popular as expected.

First versions of Light Peak are expected to transfer data at 10 Gbit/s with the use of photon beams rather than electric pulses. Even though both USB 3.0 and Light Peak use Fiber Optic cables, the light beams don’t suffer from external electromagnetic interference like USB 3.0, especially over long distances. It also allows data transfer over longer distances, and with the use of nanostructured reflectors along the cabling, light doesn’t degrade if the cables are bent around tight corners. The bending technology is similar to that used in ClearCurve and BendBright.

Light Peak also promises multiple datastream capabilities it can be used for a wide range of hardware options such as hard drivers, visual displays and more. The Light Peak ports are similar in size to the USB styled bus ports, but have the capabilities to emit beam rays and receive. The transceiver was possible by miniaturizing older styled transceivers. They have also said that when Light Peak is brought on full stream, it should be able to transfer data at 100 Gbit/s. Intel promises that it would not cost much money, and pricing would be scaled to suit regular consumers.

With that said, rumors are milling about that Apple is expected to bypass USB 3.0 for Light Peak on both their newer model Macs and and lower powered version for their mobile devices such as the iPhone and maybe the later version iPads. Intel has yet to integrate USB 3.0 onto their boards but they have not thrown away the idea of adding it, and mentioned that USB 3.0 and Light Peak technology can work side by side. However, with benefits such as much faster data speeds and longer data cable cords, it may be a viable option over USB 3.0.

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