Intel Bringing High-Speed Optical Network Cables to Data Centers
At the OFC event, the chip maker and partners unveil new MXC optical networking technology based on Intel's silicon photonics.Intel and several partners, after years of development and testing, are preparing to bring optical networking capabilities to the data center that promise to send data between servers and other systems at significantly higher speeds than copper cables currently do. Intel officials, at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) 2014 show March 11, announced that the chip maker—in conjunction with vendors like Corning, Molex, Tyco Electronics and US Conec—will begin rolling out new cables in the second half of 2014 that will transfer data at speeds of up to 800 gigabits per second in each direction (an aggregate of 1.6 terabits per second), much faster than the 10G bps copper cables typically used in today's data centers. Intel introduced its new MXC connector technology that is based on the vendor's silicon photonics technology, which uses light rather than copper as a way to more quickly send data between systems in the data center. Corning has been sampling MXC cable assemblies with customers and will be producing them in the third quarter, according to Intel documents. In addition, US Consec said it will sell MXC connector parts to Corning and other vendors, and Tyco and Molex announced they will build and sell MXC-based cable assemblies. In addition, US Consec has created an MXC certification program.
Optical cables bring a range of benefits over copper-based cables, according to Mario Paniccia, Intel Fellow and general manager of the chip maker's silicon photonics operations. The optical cables are significantly smaller and can send data at 800G bps up to 300 meters, a much farther distance than Ethernet.