Intel's Light Peak interconnect brings 10 gigabits per second to a USB cable
By the end of the year you will begin to see Intel's new Light Peak technology. So that you have some idea of just how fast 10 gigabits per second is, Intel's Light Peak overview leaps straight into layman's analogy: at 10Gb/s, you could transfer a Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds -- that's 1200 megabytes per second. An XviD movie would take less than one second...
The best bit, though, is that Intel has just demonstrated their new technology using USB cables. Well, USB cables with optical fiber running alongside the regular electrical wires -- but you get the idea! Not only is optical fiber thin and light, it also has no theoretical cap on potential bandwidth -- within 10 years, Intel says we could transmit 100Gb/s over the same cable. Twenty years from now we might see terabits per second over a USB cable.
As for potential uses of such technology, because you can run multiple protocols over a single Light Peak connection, you could replace every data cable currently under your desk with just a single optical connection. The same Light Peak link could be used to connect your monitor and an external hard drive and a video camera to your computer.
It's an exciting technology -- here's hoping it's not prohibitively expensive when it comes to the market later this year.