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Intel bides time on faster Thunderbolt connector

Agam Shah | March 11, 2014
Intel could soon bring to market a faster version of its Thunderbolt connector technology with a throughput of 50Gbps, but the company is biding its time until there is a need for faster connectors.

Intel is also working on low-power Thunderbolt technology for mobile phones and tablets, which largely still use slower micro-USB 2.0 ports. But Intel has said mobile Thunderbolt adoption could be blunted by WiGig, which can transfer data wirelessly at a rate of up to 7Gbps (bits per second).

Intel has researched silicon photonics technology for more than a decade. The first MXC optical cables are thinner than competitive copper cables used in data centers, Intel has said. The cables can support a range of protocols including Ethernet and PCI-Express 3.0.

Copper cables are slowly being replaced and will ultimately give way to optical fibers, Paniccia said. But from a product perspective, the company is currently focusing silicon photonics on the data-center market, Paniccia said.


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