IBM unveils big green optical technology

13 Mar 2008

IBM has unveiled an optical high-speed networking technology that can deliver massive amounts of bandwidth with a tiny energy footprint.

The new technology, now in prototype, can send 8 terabits per second using the power of a single 100-watt light bulb, IBM Researchers said.

A typical 100-meter long super-computer connection would use 100 times less energy than today's electrical interconnects and offer a power savings of 10 times over current commercial optical modules.

The new technology, first announced a year ago, now can put optical chips and optical data buses in a single package with standard components.

'Just a year later, we've now connected those high speed chips through printed circuit boards with dense integrated optical 'wiring',' said Clint Schow, a member of the research team. 'Now we have built an even faster transceiver and have moved the optical components away from custom devices to more standard parts procured from a volume manufacturer, taking an important step toward commercializing the technology.'

Possible applications include super-computing networking, patient care and 'high-definition content everywhere', IBM said.

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