IBM today announced a prototype optical transceiver chipset that can move data at 160 Gigabits per second, providing a preview of a new era of high-speed connectivity that will transform communications, computing and entertainment.
Optical networking offers the potential to dramatically improve data transfer rates by speeding the flow of data using light pulses, instead of sending electrons over wires.
The new optical transceiver chip, pictured above measuring only 3.25 x 5.25mm, can download in one second what at present would take 30 minutes or more. The new chip is expected to usher in a new era of much larger and faster bandwidths available for widespread use because of its low cost.
IBM said the ability to use these signals could offer previously unheard of amounts of bandwidth and enhanced signal fidelity compared to current electrical data links. By shrinking and integrating the components into one package, and building them with standard low-cost, high-volume chip manufacturing techniques, IBM is making optical connectivity viable for widespread use.