According to this Anandtech.com article, Intel demonstrated a true Silicon Photonic interface for components on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Intel demonstrated the world’s first practical data connection using silicon photonics – a 50 gigabit per second optical data connection built around an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser. They achieved the 50 gigabit/s data rate by multiplexing 4 12.5 gigabit/s wavelengths into one fiber – wavelength division multiplexing. Intel dubbed its demo the “50G Silicon Photonics Link.”
Wow. Think of what that really means. The limits of Copper cabling be damned! As it becomes easier and easier to integrate, we’ll see linkages for some of the simplest things. Imagine a data switch that uses these! Instead of the 1-10Gbps speed cap that we have now, we could transfer data at 5X that speed! Of course, I don’t have the slightest idea what the data cap is on the internals of a switch, so the copper on the boards might limit the full throughput, but even the added speed from pc to switch and from switch to server would bring an incredible gain in speeds. And it goes without saying that gamers will be all over this technology for their high-end gaming rigs. And if it’s truly that much cheaper than the current toslink connections, it could become a standard in most IT backrooms to link things together with fiber.
The list could go on with the potential benefits and gains from this sort of technology. Here’s hoping they find a way to bring it into production quickly and cheaply.