Intel Unveils High-Speed Silicon Optical Network

Intel has unveiled its prototype optical communication laser transmitter and receiver, designed to transfer data at speeds of 50 Gbps.

The company said that the breakthrough will allow them to produce silicon-based optical links to be used in computers to ramp up the speed to up to 8 Tbps within the next 5 years.

Intel believe that the optical links will soon replace the copper wires that are currently being used to connect components in data centres and PCs.

In a statement, Dr Mario Paniccia, the director of Intel's Photonics Technology Labs, said: “Because of the cost, because of the bulkiness, the costs are still limiting use only for telecoms. It is very difficult to drive use of optical in the PC or in and around everyday devices.”

He explained that the new technology used a sophisticated silicon laser that will come embeded in the transmitter chip itself, as well as with components such as the modulator and multiplexer, which can be used to combine laser beams into separate channels that would allow transmission over the optical network.