Broadband

2x bandwidth at the same price as optical cables: That's the promise of Silicon-based cables


Luxtera, the Carlsbad, CA-based start up, introduces optical cables based on the emerging field of Silicon photonics. The promise: "The cable, called Blazar, can send 40 gigabits of data per second through its fiber but will cost as little as today's 20-gigabit-per-second optical cables."

The article published at Technology Review details how the new technology can be a cost-effective data cabling solution. Conventionally, copper wires are used for data cables due to cost and cooling concerns but are definitely not the best when it comes to bandwidth considerations (especially extending over long distances). Fiber-optic cables have been a solution to the 'extension' problem, but while the optic cables are cheap, the transceivers used in them are costly (due to the use of expensive non-silicon semiconductors).

Silicon-photonics is the branch of photonics that deals with the creation of transceivers for optical signals based on the 'cheaper' silicon semiconductor. And Luxtera's product is a significant achievement in this front.

Fred Zieber, president of Pathfinder Research, a technology-analysis firm says, "It's a great product for things like server farms and computer complexes, and that market's growing pretty doggone fast."

The future prospects for the technology could extend to replacing the copper within computers, essentially paving the way for a radical makeover of the lines that "skew" across motherboard. While Luxtera seeks to consolidate its marketing credentials, this technology will be a very interesting domain to look out for in the future.

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