A new research breakthrough from Intel combines silicon chips and lasers to transmit data at 50 gigabits per second—and someday, maybe as fast as a terabit per second.
The 50-Gbps speed is enough to download an HD movie from iTunes, or up to 100 hours of digital music, in less than a second.
The technology, known as silicon photonics, can be used as a replacement for copper wires to connect components within computers, or between computers in data centers.
"The fundamental issue is that electronic signaling relying on copper wires is reaching its physical limits,” says Justin Rattner, chief technology officer for Intel, which announced the breakthrough Tuesday. "Photonics gives us the ability to move vast quantities of data across the room or planet at extremely high speeds and in a cost-effective manner."
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