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Intel invents an optical cable that promises 1.6Tbps

Based on the firm's silicon photonics interconnect technology
Tue Mar 11 2014, 17:39

CHIPMAKER Intel has developed an 800Gbps optical cable that it said will offer huge speed increases to supercomputers and data centres when it's launched in the second half of the year.

In announcing the product at the Optical Fibre Conference in San Francisco, Intel said it is based on its silicon photonics interconnect technology, and has the support of a number of players in the optical industry, including Corning, US Conec, TE Connectivity, Molex and others.

The chipmaker calls it MXC connector technology, which is intended as a cost-effective optical interconnect inside data centres.

MXC, which Intel launched last year, is a compact interconnect that supports up to 64 fibres, each carrying up to 25Gbps of data for a total 1.6Tbps bandwidth over distances up to 300m. It was developed in partnership with Corning, which provides the Clearcurve optical fibre designed to be bent around tighter curves than traditional fibres.

The technology is part of Intel's next generation data centre initiative dubbed Rack Scale Architecture, which aims to disaggregate individual servers into pools of compute, storage and memory at the rack level, with silicon photonics used for connectivity both within and between racks.

In a post on Intel's Data Stack blog, the firm also mentioned that Microsoft has joined its MXC Adopters Forum.

Microsoft's general manager of Cloud Server Engineering, Kushagra Vaid, said that MXC technology will be "instrumental" in shaping next generation high-performance data centre architectures.

"We look forward to working with Intel and open standards bodies like OCP to accelerate information-sharing and industry adoption," he said.

The main use cases for MXC cables include faster connections between top-of-rack switches and core switches, and for connecting servers to extra storage or GPUs, Intel said. µ


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