Intel envisions fiber optics at motherboard level


Intel is preparing for a future where fiber optics is implemented at the motherboard level and used to shuffle data at high-speeds between servers. The appeal of light has to do with it being a much faster vehicle for moving data compared to ordinary electrical wiring, as well as its lower power requirements.

Indeed, the company is already producing silicon photonics modules that can transfer data at 100Gbps, which is currently offered to a few clients for testing. Of course, new servers that incorporate silicon photonics technology will require faster networking, storage and processing subsystems, observed Justin Rattner, Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) chief technology officer. Rattner made the remarks during a keynote at the Open Compute Summit held in Santa Clara, California on Wednesday

At the conference, Intel also showcased prototype server rack architecture utilizing this technology with an Intel silicon switch. The culmination of more than a decade of research, the server uses an Intel silicon switch and supports Intel's own Xeon and Atom server chips, reports Computerworld.

The superior speed and low power requirements of silicon photonics have the potential to redefine server designs, says Rattner. By this, he means that components that generate a substantial amount of heat--such as processing and storage units--could be decoupled and stored in separate boxes. This could presumably allow for more efficient cooling when implemented in data centers.

For more:
- check out this article at Computerworld

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