Intel pushes speed, reliability claims with its new MXC cable
The new fiber technology could be a thin, fast connector throughout data centers, Intel says
IDG News Service - An optical interconnect introduced by Intel on Wednesday may someday slim down cabling throughout data centers if the company can get enough vendors to mass-produce it.
The interconnect, which Intel is calling MXC, is designed to offer high speed with a long reach and a relatively low cost. Intel developed MXC with Corning and showed it off at a press event in San Francisco. Its next goal is to publish the MXC specification so fiber manufacturers can start using it to develop new products, said Victor Krutul, director of business development and marketing at Intel's Silicon Photonics Operation.
MXC is protocol-agnostic and could be used for network links throughout a data center, over technologies that could include Terabit Ethernet, Krutul said. At Wednesday's event, Intel used it to connect two trays of microservers to each other in a demonstration rack. The fiber could also be used to link servers to a top-of-rack switch, connect a series of those switches to a bigger switch at the end of a row, or form the backbone of the data-center network, Krutul said.
A key application where MXC may be needed is so-called rack-level computing, where the various components found in servers are separated and packed in large numbers into rack units of their own, Krutul said. Rack-level computing needs to bring together parts distributed throughout a data center, an ideal fit for MXC's range and speed, he said.
Intel gave a few details about MXC in its description of a session at next week's Intel Developer Forum. The announcement on Wednesday came alongside other signs that the company is making another push into networking, a market where it has had mixed results. Intel also announced the Atom C2000 low-power processor line, which will come in system-on-a-chip variants for switches and routers, among other uses.
MXC can carry 25Gbps (bits per second) on each fiber over a distance of 300 meters, a combination of speed and range that today's most comparable fiber technology, VCSEL (vertical cavity surface-emitting laser), can't achieve, said Ken Chong, an Intel silicon photonics product line manager. VCSEL offers 10Gbps over 300 meters now, but at 25Gbps it can only go 100 meters or less, he said.
As many as 64 fibers can be bundled into one MXC cable, bringing its total capacity to as much as 1.6Tbps, Krutul said. That means MXC can be used for the 10Gbps connections commonly used in data centers today as well as newer 40Gbps and 100Gbps versions, up to the Terabit Ethernet that Ethernet researchers envision in the future, he said. Other protocols, such as PCI Express, could also ride over MXC fiber. MXC components convert the electronic signals at each end of a connection into optical signals, then back again at the other end.
- Improving Business Value of WAN Optimization Want to achieve faster ROI with WAN optimization? Read the latest IDC report and discover how you can cut IT costs without compromising...
- Four Little-Known Ways WAN Optimization Can Benefit Your Organization Read this white paper to learn how far WAN optimization has come, and how to make this most of your investments by using...
- IDC ROI Infographic Trends such as evolving communication patterns, connection types, applications and bandwidth can have an impact on enterprise organizations. Learn how IT organizations can...
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Live Webcast IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!