Faster data transfer between gadgets has been on top of consumers’ wish list.
Enter Light Peak, the new buzzword in peripheral connectivity.
Forget serial, forget USB 2.0, forget USB 3.0, lightpeak has the potential to replace
the existing peripheral connectivity technologies.
Light Peak is an optical cable interface designed to connect devices in a peripheral bus.
The technology has a high bandwidth at 10 Gbit/s, with the potential to scale to 100 Gbit/s by 2020.
Currently in development by Intel, Light Peak is being developed as a single universal replacement for
current buses such as SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI, in an attempt to
reduce the proliferation of ports on contemporary computers. Bus systems such as USB
were developed for the same purpose, and successfully replaced a number of older technologies.
However, increasing bandwidth demands have led to higher performance standards like eSATA
and DisplayPort that cannot connect to USB and similar peripherals. Light Peak provides a
high enough bandwidth to drive these over a single type of interface, and often on a single
daisy chained cable.
Light Peak can be at least twice as fast as USB 3.0, also known as Super-speed USB, and can deliver bandwidth starting at 10 Gigabits per second, with the potential to extend to 100 Gb/s. At its lowest
speed, it means you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds.
If Intel can pull it off, it would mean a big change for consumers. The ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, or USB, has changed the way we interact with our computers. USB has allowed almost every consumer
electronics product from keyboards, and printers to digital cameras and personal media players to be connected to a host PC using a single standardized socket.
This year, major PC and accessories makers are introducing products that use USB 3.0, whose data transfer rates of 4 Gb/s is up to ten times faster than USB 2.0.
Unlike existing cables used by current technology, optics transfers data using light instead of electricity. That makes its faster, allows for smaller connectors, and thinner, more flexible cables than what’s currently possible, says Intel.
Light Peak uses a controller chip and an optical module that would be included in devices that support the technology. The optical module, which performs the conversion from electricity to light using miniature
lasers and photo detectors, will be manufactured by Intel’s partners, while the chip maker will produce the controller.