Intel's SiPh modules

Intel launches SiPh transceivers capable of 100Gbps over 2km

At this year’s IDF in San Francisco Intel announced volume shipments of new discrete Silicon Photonics modules, apparently capable of maintaining a 100Gbps data rate over a 2km long link. This is a step up from previous capabilities available in “shops” and a personal promise from Diane Bryant, Intel’s Data Center Group chief.

Silicon Photonics is a promising technology which aims to develop standard optical components such as light sources, detectors, mirrors, waveguides, etc using standard silicon technology. A major potential benefit is cost saving, since the elements would be produced in a standard process. Secondly, Silicon Photonics can significantly increase integration, improving communication capabilities of other on-chip components. Think direct, on-chip optical integration.

The SiPh building blocks

Initial deployments are targeted at datacenters. One example application is Intel’s Rack Scale technology (RSA). It provides a vision for a highly integrated datacenter rack, where storage, compute and memory are all pooled together.

Rack Scale concept

Other manufacturers are also actively working on the technology.

References:

Intel’s IDF press note

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/silicon-photonics/silicon-photonics-overview.html