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Intel Connects PCs To Devices Using Light

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the fast-connection dept.

Intel 179

CWmike writes "Intel is working on a new optical interconnect that could possibly link mobile devices to displays and storage up to 100 meters away. The optical interconnect technology, Light Peak, could communicate data between systems and devices associated with PCs at speeds of up to 10Gbits/sec., said David Perlmutter, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobility group. The technology uses light to speed up data transmission between mobile devices and connected devices like storage, networking and audio devices, the company said. The technology could help transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds, says a post on Intel's site. Light Peak can run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling mobile devices to perform tasks over multiple connected devices at the same time. 'Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible,' according to the Intel entry. It could also lead to thinner and fewer connectors on mobile devices, Perlmutter said."

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Who would use this? (0, Redundant)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | about 5 years ago | (#29527217)

Oh that sounds cool but I already have a technology to transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds.

It's called a cable.

Re:Who would use this? (0, Redundant)

Aranykai (1053846) | about 5 years ago | (#29527231)

It seems that the article is also talking about a cable, albeit an optical cable of fiber.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Interesting)

agentgonzo (1026204) | about 5 years ago | (#29527275)

Having RTFA I am still at a loss to see how this differs from current 10Gb/s fibre optics. Is it just that they've given it a new name, as that's all that I can get out of the article.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#29527479)

Is it just that they've given it a new name, as that's all that I can get out of the article.

So the non-article-reading crowd wins again. I gathered this much from the summary.

Re:Who would use this? - Nobody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527611)

This technology is doomed to fail because it can't provide power for the attached devices.
For everything else, there is Gigabit or 10G Ethernet over fiber, a much more supported and widespread technology.

Re:Who would use this? - Nobody (3, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | about 5 years ago | (#29527911)

Actually, if you do your cabling right, yes you can. Ethernet's got distance limitations- fiber has less of one. Power can be ran the same distances if you pair it up around the fiber and make it part of a special connector... Moreover, the crowd they're tailoring this to doesn't care as much about power concerns over the interconnect. They want reliability, ease of cabling, distance, and overall speed- and they're not wanting to dangle all sorts of things like people do with USB stuff.

Re:Who would use this? (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 years ago | (#29527731)

it's Intel's version of USB 3

Re:Who would use this? (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 5 years ago | (#29527375)

You could call it "S/PDIF"...

Re:Who would use this? (1)

wed128 (722152) | about 5 years ago | (#29527963)

Wish i had mod points...this is exactly what i thought.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29528097)

...unless, of course, you take into account that S/PDIF is a protocol (like TCP, IP och Ethernet) that has nothing to do with the medium on which it's transmitted. You could have two monkeys yanking a rope (which does seem to be the case for the main internet-bearing lines accross the Atlantic from time to time) transmitting TCP/IP-packets between eachother.

obligatory (2, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | about 5 years ago | (#29528689)

Do not stare into cable with remaining eye.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | about 5 years ago | (#29527265)

Oh that sounds cool but I already have a technology to transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds.

So do I. It's called a "Blu-ray disc".

Anyway, when did "full-length Blu-ray movie" become a unit of data? What happed to the traditonal "Library of Congress" measure?

Re:Who would use this? (5, Informative)

thijsh (910751) | about 5 years ago | (#29527321)

Oh don't worry, Intel is always on top of the latest "scientific-standards"... From their website:

The library of Congress contains over 10 terabytes of information (a 1 with 13 zeroes after it). If you used Light Peak technology operating at 10 billion bits per second it would take you only 17 minutes to transfer the complete library of Congress.

Source: http://techresearch.intel.com/articles/None/1813.htm [intel.com] - interesting facts

Re:Who would use this? (3, Informative)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29527729)

I think they got their bits and bytes mixed up. 10^13 bytes = 8*10^13 bits = 8000 seconds (2h13m) at 10^10 bits per second.

Re:Who would use this? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#29528153)

Holy shit, you are right. I think if they are going to be on top of the latest "scientific standards" it would behoove them to figure out the basics. Talk about running before you walk...

Re:Who would use this? (2, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | about 5 years ago | (#29528711)

Hahaha... you're right. They must have used a float to calculate this... damn those Intel rounding errors!
Intel, try googling before you run: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=10+terabytes+%2F+10000000000+bps [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Who would use this? (1)

metamechanical (545566) | about 5 years ago | (#29528197)

Quit introducing accuracy into this discussion!

Yep... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 years ago | (#29527309)

and 10 gigabit Ethernet is an existing standard, also handles "multiple protocols simultaneously," and depending on the PHY, can go much farther than 100 meters.

Re:Yep... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29527473)

Yes but the per-port cost of 10Gb ethernet is astronomical compared to something that would go in a consumer device. I imagine this technology has many, many compromises to achieve lower cost that would not work well for a more generalized transport like ethernet (ie this is probably meant to go to less than 3m).

Re:Yep... (0)

ArchKaine (652697) | about 5 years ago | (#29527629)

When you say 'this technology'. To which technology are you referring? 10GB Ethernet, or the new optical one? If the latter then if you'll recall, it was stated explicitly that the signal was able to be transmitted as far as 100 meters, through a thin and flexible cable. That's a fair margin further than 3 meters.

I'm also sure that even a 10 GB Ethernet cable can transmit further then 3 meters. This technology sounds like it has a good potential to replace Ethernet (if costs can be kept down, and if it proves to be reliable over the long-term). The cable construction is simple, based on the sound of it, and it uses less materials than an equivalent Ethernet cable.

The Ethernet form-factor for network cabling has been around a long time. My personal opinion is that if this technology works as well as planned/advertised, perhaps it's a good time to start to deprecate the older system.

My two cents, keep the change.

Re:Yep... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 years ago | (#29527811)

Yes, but I don't see where it says it does 10Gb @ 100m =)

Re:Yep... (1)

ArchKaine (652697) | about 5 years ago | (#29527991)

In the video, the narrator mentioned that the bandwidth could scale up from 10GB to 100GB over the next 10 years or so. This might mean that they're still working out bugs in the transceivers. But there was no mention of anything lower than 10GB of bandwidth. Although admittedly that doesn't rule out the possibility of claiming more than they can actually do. Also, they never explicitly state at what distances you can expect to get what levels of bandwidth.

But, a grain of salt is a good idea to be taken with any claims of whatever entities. Although I still think that if this technology is as good as claimed, it has some nice potential applications.

Cost... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 years ago | (#29528013)

... in 1979 10base5 cost $thousands per node. In the mid-90's, a 100Mb switch port cost a thousand. In the early '90's, 1000baseT switch ports cost ~$300 each.

Today, 1000baseT is included on $500 laptops, and you can get a 5 port 1000baseT switch for $25. If you think similar things won't happen with 10G, you're wrong.

Re:Yep... (1)

cluge (114877) | about 5 years ago | (#29528317)

>the per-port cost of 10Gb ethernet is astronomical compared to something that would go in a consumer device

That is what was said abot ethernet. Now it's so ubiquitous that my blue ray player has an ethernet port. Why intel isn't just pushing to lower the cost of ethernet which is already well understood. With the advent if Isata and I scsi do we really need a different layer 2 protocol?

Re:Yep... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | about 5 years ago | (#29527539)

I know of PHBs and PFYs, but I guess we're to blame L'Oreal for the PHYs ?

Re:Who would use this? (4, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | about 5 years ago | (#29527311)

1) The article is about a cable.
2) You probably don't have a 10Gb/s cable
3) You certainly don't have a 100m long 10Gb/s cable.

Re:Who would use this? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29527417)

Yes I do, and Yes I do.

I have a bundle of at least 16 100Gb/s cables that run over 2Km. the only thing not letting my fiber optic cable run 160Gb/sec is the transceivers at each end are too low of quality to do so. so we live with 2 paltry 100Bt fibers a couple are used for video, and the rest are dark for future use.

This cable was laid 5 years ago way before Intel decided to discover fiber optics.

Re:Who would use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527437)

4) That's what SHE said.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | about 5 years ago | (#29527317)

It's done over a cable - something the summary and most articles I've seen on it has failed to make apparent.

I did wonder about its usefulness myself, though. Why would I need to connect my iPhone to five different things at once? I rareky even need to connect my laptop to more than one or two things at a time.

Then I gave it some more thought and it occurred to me: at some point in the not-too-distant future smartphones will have the capabilities of today's laptops in terms of computing power and storage. You're unlikely to use that much power on the go, and you're hampered by the small screen and keyboard. But, for at least a segment of the population, you'll be able to dock your supersmartphone much like you can dock a laptop today. The dock will connect to a larger monitor, perhaps a keyboard and mouse (though those may be wireless direct to the phone), network, optical drive, offline storage, printer, and other peripherals. Your smartphone would be the computing guts of a much broader and capable system.

But the docking connectors on dock-able laptops are enormous compared to the size of a smartphone. Having a single, small, optically-based connector that can connect your phone to all those other devices will be key to this paradigm.

That is, of course, unless wireless technologies completely supplant wired connections for peripherals.

Re:Who would use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527409)

You say:

It's done over a cable - something the summary and most articles I've seen on it has failed to make apparent.

The summary says (emphasis mine):

Light Peak can run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable [...]

I dare say the failure is one of reading comprehension and information retention on your part, not one of omission on the part of the summary. Now, the title doesn't use the word "cable", but this isn't twitter -- there is more to the post than a title.

Re:Who would use this? (0, Flamebait)

smallfries (601545) | about 5 years ago | (#29527955)

So you're saying in the world of tomorrow the paradigm will be OQO? Thanks, that was really insightful. I feel that you've really added something of value to this thread. Perhaps going forward you could add your value elsewhere.

Re:Who would use this? (2, Funny)

afex (693734) | about 5 years ago | (#29527335)

I'm confused as to how useful this is - can someone convert blu-ray movies to libraries of congress for me?

Re:Who would use this? (1)

gparent (1242548) | about 5 years ago | (#29527715)

Sure.

The library of Congress contains over 10 terabytes of information (a 1 with 13 zeroes after it). If you used Light Peak technology operating at 10 billion bits per second it would take you only 17 minutes to transfer the complete library of Congress.

If you can transfer 1 LoC in 17 minutes, then you can transfer 0.000108243216 LoCs per second.

Since the Blu-Ray movies can be transferred in less than 30 seconds, the size of the Blu-Ray movie is anywhere from 0.000108243216 LoCs, or (30 * 0.000108243216), that is, 0.09417159792 libraries of congress.

Re:Who would use this? (4, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | about 5 years ago | (#29527741)

1 LOC is 2000 BRM.

The speed is 50 libraries of congress per microfortnight.

Re:Who would use this? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 5 years ago | (#29527505)

Benchmarks dude, I would like to know what you are running to take a 25gb dvd into your pc using ANY cable (usb, firewire...) I would like to see that happen in 30 seconds...pls show me the proof.

Re:Who would use this? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | about 5 years ago | (#29527583)

A 10Gbps link should roughly be able to do that.

Getting the data fast enough off the DVD might be an issue, not to mention getting storage that can write fast enough.

Re:Who would use this? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 5 years ago | (#29527989)

That's exactly why I said what I said, this does not exist yet...the combo of technology to allow for this to happen at 5 seconds as the person claims to be able to do, is impossible right now,
maybe in the near future....

Re:Who would use this? (1)

rpetre (818018) | about 5 years ago | (#29527833)

Benchmarks dude, I would like to know what you are running to take a 25gb dvd into your pc using ANY cable (usb, firewire...) I would like to see that happen in 30 seconds...pls show me the proof.

I can do it in 5 seconds, without a cable! It's a special technology called "DVD tray" :)

Re:Who would use this? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 5 years ago | (#29527983)

You can backup your dvd unto your pc in 5 seconds with dvd tray.
I have never heard of that, are you understanding what I am asking?

Backing up an actually dvd (all its info) from the disc to your hdd, so that after
you can actually watch the dvd on your pc's drive WITHOUT having the dvd in the dvdvrom.
I have never heard of such a benchmark.

Re:Who would use this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527723)

It's called a cable.

which is not fast enough.
They are talking about over 17 times faster than max theoretical Gigabit LAN

Re:Who would use this? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 5 years ago | (#29527865)

Heh... I would say someone using a supercomputer cluster in an RF-hostile environment for now. I'm not wholly sure where Light Peak's supposed to take things outside of that, though. They're working on 40Gbit and 100Gbit interconnect for clusters, etc. right now and 10Gbit is in ATCA blade server cages right now as the fabric interconnect. Perhaps there's higher signalling rates more readily possible than with copper on this- or perhaps there's less of a distance problem with it like there is with 10G Ethernet.

Needs a catchy name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527221)

Ooohhh, how about Fibre Optic?
Catch the fancy spelling of Fiber?

Re:Needs a catchy name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527421)

Well, the lovely summary never mentioned Fiber. In an effort to provide with my insight, without RTFA (as this is /.) I would say, If they are using light over cooper, like a lamp to connect all your tangled wires at home. :)

Fiber optic (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | about 5 years ago | (#29527229)

Why aren't they just calling it fiber optic?

Ummm.... (1)

pHus10n (1443071) | about 5 years ago | (#29527245)

.........fiber? :)

Re:Ummm.... (1)

suso (153703) | about 5 years ago | (#29527355)

"Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible," according to the Intel entry.

Survey says...... *bzzzzzzt*

Fiber optic cable is much more fragile than almost all other cables. You can't bend it much before the fiber inside breaks. Now if they've invented some new type of optical cable that is more flexible, I'd say that's more interesting than whatever data protocol they've made. But I doubt it.

Re:Ummm.... (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29527433)

you haven't touched fiber for a decade have you. The new stuff can get bent to nearly an inch radius without even starting to suffer losses. Hell we have some jumpers her that were demoed to us that you can bend at a tight 110 degree angle with a ..5 inch radius and it still does not break, but does suffer from 2db loss at that point.

The bitch of fiber is that it's a PITA to install ends. I gave up and simply cut pre-made jumpers and fusion splice them onto the incoming. faster, cheaper, and far more reliable.

Re:Connectors (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 5 years ago | (#29527649)

Current consumer cables can be kicked around the floor, dropped in water, and not have the terminating ends covered with protective caps when not in use ....and still the connectors perform their intended function. Welcome to an all-new tech support hell calls on all the stupid^H^H^H^H^H^H inventive methods consumers find to destroy fiber connectors. The company which provides the cables for this venture should probably use a pricing model which includes a 50% failure rate in the first 6 months for all optic cables. Good luck.

Cheap Fiber? (1)

maharb (1534501) | about 5 years ago | (#29527251)

Is this just cheap components for Fiber? 100 meters is pretty far, I am guessing that this could have networking uses beyond ripping media to external drives.

Re:Cheap Fiber? (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 5 years ago | (#29527625)

Is this just cheap components for Fiber? 100 meters is pretty far, I am guessing that this could have networking uses beyond ripping media to external drives.

100m is a good distance... More than I'd probably need for connecting a mobile device to anything else in my house... But it isn't amazing. Doesn't good ol' ethernet cap out around 100m?

optical structured cabling? (3, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | about 5 years ago | (#29527257)

What I've wanted for some time is a universal standard of structured cabling: I'd run a "bus" cable round the house, and in each room or termination point I'd have a box that allowed me to run different signals and different protocols over that bus - audio, HD video, ethernet, etc. No more running new cable runs each time I wanted to add a phone point, or an extra network socket. If this provides a way of doing this over a universal optical bus, then count me in...

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 5 years ago | (#29527297)

What I've wanted for some time is a universal standard of structured cabling: I'd run a "bus" cable round the house, and in each room or termination point I'd have a box that allowed me to run different signals and different protocols over that bus - audio, HD video, ethernet, etc. No more running new cable runs each time I wanted to add a phone point, or an extra network socket.

You mean like cat-5e with a switch?

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

afex (693734) | about 5 years ago | (#29527329)

though you may just be toying with him, i just moved into a house in may and have only had to drop cat5 in the rooms. It covers:
- Audio (streaming radio/mp3 collection from media server)
- HD Video (Xbox360 w/ tversity for me, but HTPC for most people)
- Ethernet (duh)
- Phone (i only have cell, but my landline would be U-verse and thus would plug into the cat5)
- TV (U-verse boxes have cat-5 jacks on the back and are essentially just computers on your network)

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | about 5 years ago | (#29527659)

What you're saying is it carries ethernet and phone (presumably on a spare pair on the ethernet cable), and you use this to move HD video, audio and TV over ethernet. Not the same thing.

Re:optical structured cabling? (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | about 5 years ago | (#29527965)

Actually, he's probably even doing the Voice on the net... I would. VoIP phones to a PBX switch in the wiring closet where the stuff all comes together at.

There's little need for special wireups, etc. these days. Done right, you can just drop a handful of Cat-5 drops into a room along with the mains plugs and light switches and have everything imaginable in this day and age handled in some fashion.

You could just as easily do the connect with fiber (and perhaps better with it if the cables still weren't a bit more fragile than one would like them to be...) because it's all TCP/IP based at that point and the media's less relevant as long as you can either translate it to another format or have devices on that network type.

Re:optical structured cabling? (2, Insightful)

xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D (1160707) | about 5 years ago | (#29528623)

Why is it not the same thing? Scenario 1: redefine everything (e.g., phone, audio) to work over some "universal bus". Scenario 2: redefine everything (e.g., phone, audio) to work over Ethernet. They sound like the same thing to me.

Re:optical structured cabling? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29527357)

Cat-5 is certainly the best option today; but I'm guessing that grandparent is hoping for something that wouldn't raise the costs of endpoint devices significantly.

You can run pretty much anything you want over ethernet, as long as you can get it in under 1Gb/s; but only if you are willing to put a full general purpose computer(or a dedicated embedded device, if the market has seen fit to provide one for your application) at each end. This is less than wholly useful when it comes to older devices, or cheaper devices that are still only shipping with some sort of non-ethernet connections.

If, say, you want to connect a projector and a DVD player, that is normally cheap and easy. A few analog video cables, supported by even the most awful players and projectors, or DVI/HDMI in the expensive seats. If you wanted to do that over ethernet, you'd need a comparatively high end projector, and a DVD player that supports ethernet connected projectors. I'm not sure any of the latter exist, so you'd have to use a full computer for the purpose. Doable; but hardly optimal.

I'm not sure exactly how grandparent's desire would actually be made to work in a real world setting; but ethernet isn't quite it. It would arguably be a suitable basis for what he wants; but it wouldn't be the whole picture.

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 years ago | (#29527449)

cat5 is not the best option today.

Cat5e or Cat6 is the best option. In fact Cat6 is as cheap as cat5e nowdays.

Honestly you do not need more than a 1000Bt network in a home. 100Bt is good enough for even streaming HD video to multiple players.

640k is enough for anybody (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 5 years ago | (#29527577)

perhaps your 5 digit uid has blinded you

1000Bt is enough TODAY

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 5 years ago | (#29527567)

It would arguably be a suitable basis for what he wants; but it wouldn't be the whole picture.

He was asking for a basis in the first place:

I'd run a "bus" cable round the house, and in each room or termination point I'd have a box that allowed me to run different signals and different protocols over that bus.

So basically he wants cat-5e connected to a switch at one end and another switch or computer at the other end. It is called a network. The whole point I was trying to make is that what he is asking for is already done in many large businesses and doesn't require any new branded fibre optic from intel to work - just a well laid out ethernet network.

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | about 5 years ago | (#29527637)

No, No, I don't. I've run lots of stuff over Cat5 before, but what I'd like is somethign that'll let me run several audio signals, several video signals (component, RF, composite, HDMI, VGA etc), plus a whole boat load of other stuff *simultaneously* to differnt devices. You can't do this on 8 core Cat 5 wire.

Re:optical structured cabling? (4, Interesting)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 5 years ago | (#29527979)

Cat-5 is certainly the best option today; but I'm guessing that grandparent is hoping for something that wouldn't raise the costs of endpoint devices significantly.

I'll assume you're using CAT5 in a generic way to mean CAT5/CAT5e/CAT6... We don't run CAT5 anymore - it's all 5e or 6. I'm not even certain where we'd buy a spool of CAT5 anymore, seems like our vendors only sell CAT5e and CAT6 these days. And CAT6 isn't much more expensive anymore.

But using CAT6 for the wiring isn't necessarily going to impact the cost of the endpoint devices at all. I can terminate that CAT6 with a couple RJ11 jacks and stick any old telephone on it. I don't need a fancy VOIP phone or anything like that.

You can run pretty much anything you want over ethernet, as long as you can get it in under 1Gb/s; but only if you are willing to put a full general purpose computer(or a dedicated embedded device, if the market has seen fit to provide one for your application) at each end. This is less than wholly useful when it comes to older devices, or cheaper devices that are still only shipping with some sort of non-ethernet connections.

Nobody said Ethernet [wikipedia.org] , they said CAT(5|5e|6). That's just copper. You can run ethernet over it... But you can do lots of other things with it as well. There's really no need to use ethernet over CAT6 - that's typically what you do, but it's still just copper. You can send analog signals just as easily as digital.

If, say, you want to connect a projector and a DVD player, that is normally cheap and easy. A few analog video cables, supported by even the most awful players and projectors, or DVI/HDMI in the expensive seats. If you wanted to do that over ethernet, you'd need a comparatively high end projector, and a DVD player that supports ethernet connected projectors. I'm not sure any of the latter exist, so you'd have to use a full computer for the purpose. Doable; but hardly optimal.

Or you just get a CAT6 video extender. [lmgtfy.com] Takes your video from VGA or HDMI or DVI or whatever, passes it over your CAT6 to the other end, and pipes it back to VGA or HDMI or DVI or whatever. Great devices. We installed several of them in a dental office so we could mount televisions on a moving arm for the patients.

I'm not sure exactly how grandparent's desire would actually be made to work in a real world setting; but ethernet isn't quite it. It would arguably be a suitable basis for what he wants; but it wouldn't be the whole picture.

Again, we're not talking about ethernet, we're talking about CAT6. There's a difference between the network protocol and the wire it is transmitted over.

All the new construction we work in has bundles of CAT6 going everywhere. You don't see any special wiring for phones or anything like that... It's just all CAT6, terminated accordingly and patched into either the data or voice systems as appropriate. You'll still frequently see some coax cable running around for television... But that can easily be run to absolutely every room and terminated in a central location, then patched in as necessary like you would anything else. Or you could just throw everything across your CAT6 with an adapter or two thrown in.

Really, these days, you don't need all sorts of different cables and connectors and jacks. Run AC to the room, a bundle of CAT6 lines, and maybe a coax line - done! You can now connect pretty much anything to pretty much anything, anywhere in your house.

This isn't something theoretical... We're doing it now.

That's not structured cabling... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 5 years ago | (#29527341)

What you describe is similar to the old 10base5 (thicknet) Ethernet. Structured cabling uses a star topology.

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

value_added (719364) | about 5 years ago | (#29527363)

What I've wanted for some time is a universal standard of structured cabling: I'd run a "bus" cable round the house ...

You're either a visionary, a fan of Jules Verne, worked in government some years ago, or you watched Terry Gilliam's Brazil on TV recently.

Either way, sign me up for your newsletter. ;-)

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 5 years ago | (#29527515)

I think this is it, this new cable tech. would be the be all end all of all cabling, for this much bandwidth through put, yo could put all your devices on it, your phone, pc, media center, etc...etc...

Now we just need the matching protocol that would allow to run simultaneous messages on the same cable.

Re:optical structured cabling? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 5 years ago | (#29527667)

You probably don't want a bus cable... I remember troubleshooting some old bus networks... Pain in the ass. Entire network would freak out because somebody had unplugged something.

You can already do most of what you describe with CAT5e/CAT6. CAT6 obviously makes a great network cable... But you can easily use it to carry telephone as well (even if it isn't VOIP). Lots of the new construction we're working in just has bundles of CAT6 going everywhere. Run 3 or 4 lines of CAT6 to a wall and you're unlikely to have to run new cables anytime soon. Plenty of room to add data and voice.

You could even do video over CAT6 if you've got the hardware for it. Either by streaming the stuff from computer to computer... Or by using a video extender.

They just figured this out? (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | about 5 years ago | (#29527283)

I've always known that it's easier to connect my devices with light than with the lights off. Can't see the port otherwise.

Re:They just figured this out? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 5 years ago | (#29527719)

Define my devices .

I think many of us at some time would rather connect a specific device in the dark; especially if the other device lacks a certain aesthetic appeal.

Shitty Title (1)

batrick (1274632) | about 5 years ago | (#29527285)

Who would think to use Electromagnetic energy to transfer information! Maybe the new WiFi will use light so we can get these faster speeds.

And this is special because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527293)

... ten-gigabit-ethernet doesn't do 100 metres over copper and much, much more over fibre? Or is it that 10GBASE-whatever isn't already available and this intel thing is? What?

Hmm... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29527303)

I'd be interested in the cabling and connectors. 10Gb/s over fiber is certainly good, and would have a variety of fun uses; but is hardly groundbreaking, you've been able to get 10Gb over fiber for a while now.

To be putting it in consumer electronics, though, you pretty much have to make the cabling and connectors quite durable and generally idiot proof. This hasn't, historically, been the first set of attributes you associate with optical fiber(it's a hell of a lot more durable than you'd expect a tiny thread of glass to be; but you have to care about turn radius, and dust and stuff getting on the connectors, and whatnot). Either Intel is just handwaving, or they actually think that they've got a set of mechanical designs that'll let fiber be as robust as USB, and still work despite accumulations of pocket lint, and people rolling over cables with chairs, and stuff getting bent in laptop bags, and whatnot.

Transceiver likely molded into cable (2, Insightful)

marciot (598356) | about 5 years ago | (#29528573)

dust and stuff getting on the connectors, and whatnot .. and still work despite accumulations of pocket lint

Although this isn't mentioned specifically in the video, it appears as if the transceiver is meant to be permanently attached to the fiber. This would be the easiest solution to the lint issue, plus it would eliminate the complexity of making good optical connections. Essentially, I think they intend to have the transceivers molded into both ends of the fiber and it would probably look just like an USB cable to the average user, only with fiber running end-to-end, rather than copper. Of course, I'm not sure USB can reach 10 Gbs, so it probably would have a different type of electrical connection to the host PC.

I think the key innovation here is that they can have a short, high-speed electrical connection between the PC and the transceiver, and a large arbitrarily long fiber link between the transceivers themselves.

Idea (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | about 5 years ago | (#29527305)

Bright idea.

Trying to work out why this is news... (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29527313)

Sending data via light? Not really news; fibre-optics are used for most bulk data transfer. Using fibre for peripheral connections? Not really; there have been standard fibre connections for audio, FireWire, and SCSI for quite a few years. Intel doing the same thing everyone else is doing buy shouting loudly about it? No, that's been going on for years too.

Can anyone enlighten me as to which part of this story is meant to be news?

Re:Trying to work out why this is news... (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | about 5 years ago | (#29527405)

Watching the short video the only two things that seem to be new are:

* the optocouplers got much smaller
* they also got a lot cheaper to manufacture

Basically means, that these things could be embedded in usb sized connectors and sold for an affordable price. What they did not explain is how they want to circumvent user habit of cable folding. Optical cables tend to be quite sensitive to this.

Re:Trying to work out why this is news... (1)

alexhs (877055) | about 5 years ago | (#29527447)

Crappy journalism. That's like advertising iSCSI as Ethernet.

Fiber data transfer is nothing new, but Intel designed a chipset for what could be some kind of "FireWire over fiber", designed for generic PC to peripheral interconnection.

Existing standard fiber connections are dedicated (only one signal/protocol in the fiber) while this one can multiplex (or time-share ?) many signals of different protocols.

Re:Trying to work out why this is news... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29527525)

But FireWire over fibre already exists, has an IEEE standard for several years, and has been implemented by multiple vendors. You can only run FireWire over it, but FireWire supports things like IP as well as a SCSI-like protocol and isometric transport for video bytestreams, so it's not exactly a massive limitation.

Re:Trying to work out why this is news... (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 5 years ago | (#29527771)

At those prices [networktechinc.com] FireWire over fibre is not what I would call a consumer level device.

But my drives don't read at 10Gb/s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527323)

Nothing exciting here, move along.

Cables or not? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 5 years ago | (#29527413)

Hang on, are there cables or are there not? If this is wire-less (something like IR) and reliable then that sounds like quite a big achievement, if not then it just sounds like fibre optics with a bit of a twist. I can't tell from the description or the article whether this new "Light Peak" is a system over wires (at which point why trumpet the mobile applications?) or some big jump in wireless peripheral connection.

Cool! (1)

Niubi (1578987) | about 5 years ago | (#29527415)

Pretty interesting stuff from a layman's point of view. Does this mean that eventually my internet connection will get faster (because it's really slow these days) and I'll be able to enjoy DubLi.com without having to wait too long?

Lighning Isolator (1)

Nein Volts (1635979) | about 5 years ago | (#29527463)

I hope they use this technology to isolate computers from lightning as well.

Re:Lighning Isolator (1)

StayFrosty (1521445) | about 5 years ago | (#29527747)

Lightning generally enters a building in one of two ways. Either it enters through the power grid or through the phone lines (I suppose it would be possible to enter through cable lines as well but I have never heard of this happening.) Since phone lines aren't often connected directly to computers anymore, lightning entering this way will kill your DSL modem rather then your computer. Generally lightning doesn't find it's way through the DSL modem and in to your NIC. Nowadays the most common way for lightning to kill a computer is through the power grid. Since photovoltaic cells have not progressed to the point where we can get grid power over fiber optics, this tech won't do anything to alleviate the problem.

Re:Lighning Isolator (1)

stocke2 (600251) | about 5 years ago | (#29528367)

I used to manage an electronic repair store, let me assure you lightning does enter on the cable line, I have seen many TV's fried this way.

Some speculation on a fairly content-light article (3, Interesting)

Lemming Mark (849014) | about 5 years ago | (#29527521)

Well, the title was not very helpful - it came from the first of the linked articles. The second was a bit more informative but still quite vague.

The interesting thing here seems to be that they're planning to tunnel multiple protocols over the optical link. So you might be hanging monitors, USB devices, SATA drives, whatever off this link. It'd be a bridge that could tunnel your device connections to somewhere quite physically distant, using only a single cable. One assumes (maybe this is a big assumption) that an important part of the effort is in getting hardware that can efficiently do the encapsulation / decapsulation of the various device protocols. I'm not entirely sure why you couldn't do this over a 10Gb ethernet link, with some kind of protocol for tunneling over ethernet. I'd speculate that it'd make the controller chips more expensive if you did this but I really don't know. Everything is guesswork anyhow, until they give us more information.

The main thing I can see this being useful for is stuff like blade desktops - the real computer you're using as your desktop is just a blade server in a chilled room, with sysadmins leaving it regular sacrificial offerings for optimal uptime. The monitor, USB devices, everything would then be connected to the blade desktop by a single optical cable. Only one slim cable to route for each desktop, everything runs over it so the "desktop" can still have functional USB ports etc. Having an optical cable seems like it would be ideal for that kind of scenario. The ultimate thin client. If you have multiple Light Peak ports on a single blade then perhaps you could get multiple virtual machines to drive separate workstations, making your datacentre density even higher.

Other stuff it might be interesting for is some kind of cheap (?) high speed networking, home media servers, low cost SAN hardware, etc. Depending on how they do it of course. But if they made it generic enough it would be really interesting for a lot of applications that are now priced out of the reach of individuals and probably also small businesses.

What's new here? (1)

imgod2u (812837) | about 5 years ago | (#29527529)

The article is scarce on information. I agree with all the others who've said that this seems like they re-invented fiber. I'm guessing since they mentioned mobile devices that this is really a low-power, low-cost fiber transmitter that they're talking about. Current electro-optical transceivers at 10gbps are pretty large in form factor and suck up a lot of power (~300mW) which would be inappropriate for mobile devices.

We have this Ethernet-thing... (1)

Zarhan (415465) | about 5 years ago | (#29527651)

We have had IEEE 802.3ae for six years now. What's the benefit over your run-of-the-mill 10 Gbps Ethernet?

Transfer from what to what? (1)

bpgslashdotaccount (1221626) | about 5 years ago | (#29527685)

Transfer a full-length Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds?

From what to what?

Really? The article positions this as a consumer technology. What is there in the consumer space that can either supply or store bits fast enough to keep up with this? Even enterprise-class storage would sweat to keep up with this.

Laboratory conditions used to create the marketing specs don't count.

Well I for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527705)

look forward to transferring my music through LPs.

Just an idea (2, Interesting)

JediTrainer (314273) | about 5 years ago | (#29527709)

Why hasn't some enterprising inventor come up with a cable/connector that combines optical (for data) and copper (for power) in a single cable?

Probably wouldn't be great for long distances, but I could imagine something like that having some advantages for replacing USB and ethernet w/PoE (at least in a home or office setting).

That's no Blu-Ray disc (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 5 years ago | (#29527755)

Since Blu-Ray refers to a disc medium, once the "full-length Blu-Ray movie" is no longer on the physical disc, but on a "light pipe," how is it a Blu-Ray movie anymore?

Re:That's no Blu-Ray disc (1)

Commander South (1139931) | about 5 years ago | (#29528151)

In this case it's OBVIOUS that this was meant as a point of reference. I know what you are saying, but seriously, what is gained by splitting hairs?

Re:That's no Blu-Ray disc (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | about 5 years ago | (#29528253)

Slightly thinner hairs?

How long is a Blu-Ray disc (2, Funny)

milosoftware (654147) | about 5 years ago | (#29528291)

I wondered how long a "full length Blu-Ray movie" is? Is it, like, just under 100 metres so it fits in the cable? Or is it 3 km, so that you have to drag that 100m cable for 30 seconds at 1 m/s to transfer it?

All these new units of measurement get me really confused.

goodbye USB DVI HDMI CAT SATA !?! (1)

distantbody (852269) | about 5 years ago | (#29527793)

Never really thought about it 'til now but -- why isn't there a consumer-level optical PHY already??.

The only thing close to a technological limitation that I can imagine would have to be the modem silicon

Great for underwater communication (1)

ninjanissan (1612103) | about 5 years ago | (#29527867)

This would be great for underwater communication (as radio waves get absorbed by water). I would like one of these for my DIY underwater ROV - but I guess it won't affect Intel's buget that much:) /Thebadkarmaguy

What?! (2, Insightful)

konohitowa (220547) | about 5 years ago | (#29527875)

OMG! You can use light to transmit data over a cable? That's freaking crazy!! Wow.

What's next? Some way to switch circuits without using tubes or relays? Yeah -- like that would ever happen.

pfffff! fibre sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29527949)

  1. fibre is more expensive than copper (just price a 14ft single mode 1310nm with LC connectors).
  2. fibre is prone to damage; there is a minimum radius requirement when making a run, stepping on it can/will damage it, connectors are very sensitive to dust and it is weak in tension and shear.
  3. 1Gb ethernet fibre transceivers are MUCH more expensive than copper cat5. Same holds true for 10Gb and now you can run 10Gb over cat6.

mo!d Down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29528577)

paalid bodieS and tired arguments prospects are very Tired arguments
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