It will take some time before the SuperSpeed USB interconnection will actually become a de-facto standard and rather surprisingly Intel Corp. has already demonstrated what is likely to succeed USB 3.0, the Light Peak optical technology. Moreover, according to Intel, the Light Peak will be the last cable interconnection.
“We view [Light Peak] as a logical future successor to USB 3.0. In some sense we would like to build the last cable you will ever need,” said Kevin Kahn, an Intel senior fellow and director of communications technology lab, during his speech at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), reports IDG News Service.
Light Peak provides initial data rates of 10Gb/s and potential scalability to 100Gb/s and beyond, something copper input/output (IO) will not be able to achieve. Light Peak also supports multiple simultaneous protocols which will allow bandwidth aggregation of the various interconnects used in systems today onto a single high speed, thin, flexible, and long cable and small connector. Potentially, Light Peak can connect camera, display, docking station, or external hard drive through a single and thin connector.
Some believe that Intel and some other companies are reluctant to implement USB 3.0 because it would be quickly replaced by Light Peak. However, Intel only expects an industry group supporting Light Peak to emerge sometime next year and it will take some time before an actual standard emerges.
Intel stresses that there is no conflict between USB 3.0 and Light Peak. The chipmaker sees Light Peak and SuperSpeed USB as complementary, as Light Peak enables USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable and at higher speeds in the future, according to Intel. One of the company’s goals is to crossover from electrical to optical connectors.
Light Peak makes this possible by moving the next IO speed increase to optical and getting away from the electro-magnetic interference (EMI) and thickening and shortening of cables that are plaguing copper IO technologies today, Intel said. Unlike the current high cost optical technologies in the datacenter, Light Peak will bring the benefits of optical in a mainstream client-ready cost footprint.