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Intel unveils 800Gbps MXC optical cables, connector

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Intel has unveiled its new MXC optical cables and compatible connector based on company’s silicon photonics technology that combines optical networking with silicon components.

The MXC cables and the connector are a result of a decade long research that aimed at replacing slower copper cables and making connector wars non-existent.

The new technology uses light and laser to transfer data between rack servers at blistering speeds of 800Gbps one way thereby outpacing the 10Gbps transfer speeds currently in use in data centres across the globe.

“…one MXC™ cable can transmit data at 1.6Tera-bits per second (64 fibers at 25Gbs). That’s 1,600,000,000,000 bits per second”, notes Intel. “If you could transmit data at that speed, you could download a two-hour HD movie from iTunes (4GB) in less than two seconds.”

Intel notes that the new MXC cables can run up to 300 meters; are smaller; and more durable as compared to their copper-based counterparts.

“It really drives the ability for bandwidth and distance separation,” said Mario Paniccia, Intel fellow and general manager of silicon photonics operations. “We believe the transition’s happening to move to fiber.”

Each MXC cable can have up to 64 fibers with each fiber capable of achieving transfer speeds of 25Gbps. Corning claims that the fastest MXC cable will be able to achieve 1.6Tbps transfer speeds with its 64 fibers.

Corning is one of the first companies to manufacture MXC cables and has revealed that it will be start making these cables in the third quarter of current year. The company has however refrained from revealing the pricing of the cable, but has indicated that the pricing will depend on the number of fibers in a cable and the distance the cable will run.

Intel claims that through the use of MXC cables and connectors current limitations of memory and storage can be removed that will benefit supercomputing and applications such as databases by making use of larger memory pools residing in a dedicated chassis.

[Source: Intel]