Copper to Be Used in First Intel Light Peak Implementation

Those keeping track of such things will know that Intel is developing a competitor of sorts for the USB technology, Light Peak by name, and it seems that a certain detail regarding its first incarnation has become known.

While the USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connectivity standard can be seen as the top technology for PC-external device communication, Intel's Light Peak might take away this title as of next year.

Light Peak has so far been known to lack USB's ability to power the devices connected through it, mostly because it is based on fiber-optic cables.

Now, Cnet News claims to have learned that the first implementation of the standard won't use optical cables, settling for copper wires instead.

What this means is that the first light peak won't use light to transfer information, even though it did when it was first demonstrated.

According to the so-called sources familiar with Intel's plans, practical realities do not yet allow for such a jump, meaning that Intel has to use more conventional technologies for now.

It is not exactly certain how the use of copper wires will affect the overall performance of the connection, or if it enables it to deliver the power needed by the devices themselves.

The first implementation of Light peak was supposed to end up with a theoretical transfer upper limit of 10 Gbps.

While not close to the supposed maximum achievable 100 Gbps, it is still twice as much as the most USB 3.0 can deliver, which is already a lot.

In fact, even USB 3.0 devices are just now starting to get closer to actually taking advantage of the full potential of the SuperSpeed interface.

Since Light Peak is supposed to show up during the first half of 2011, it will be interesting to see if any sort of competition emerges between the two.

The only question that needs answering now is if copper-based Light Peak is forward compatible with the fiber-optic one.

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