IBM optical chipset has 160Gbps transfer rate

— 3:08 PM on March 26, 2007

Big Blue has demonstrated a prototype optical transceiver chipset that it claims is eight times faster than optical components currently on the market. The transceiver chipset has a data rate of 160Gbps (20GB/s)—160 times the maximum theoretical data rate of run-of-the-mill Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Assuming no bottlenecks at the storage level, that kind of speed could allow one to transfer the contents of an entire dual-layer HD DVD disc in just a second and a half.

IBM says the transceiver's driver and receiver integrated circuits were built using current CMOS technology. The device's optical components are made from indium phosphide and gallium arsenide, and the transceiver chipset is integrated in a low-cost package measuring only 3.25mm x 5.25mm, or 17.06mm². According to IBM, the transceiver chipset can provide low-cost optics by being integrated into an optical printed circuit board. Such a setup could be used to help speed up data transfers between components inside a single PC, the company says.

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