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Posted by Mark Hine at 5:16PM   |  Add a comment
Light Peak, Courtesy Intel

Just as USB 3.0 completes its first leg of standardization Intel is touting a new consumer-level connection technology designed to replace the new (and un-market tested) 5 Gbps (Gigabits per second) technology. Intel's Light Peak technology uses fiber optics to connect computers with peripherals, such as digital cameras, scanners and printers. Still in development, Light Peak represents a giant leap in consumer connection speed and potentially convenience offering initial transfer rates of 10 Gbps.

Like USB and FireWire (aka SONY's iLink) adoption by hardware manufacturers and how much fiber will add to the price of computers and peripherals will undoubtedly determine consumer adoption rates and market availability. USB revolutionzed peripheral connections because, in part, adoption was swift and widely embraced. User level fiber optics, however, have been in the wings for almost two decades. Expensive hard drive connections via fiber are still in use in some industries but their specialized nature and cost has kept them from the mainstream.  Cable and telecom services, such as Verizon's FIOS, have introduced fiber optics to residential neighborhoods which may help pave the way for the replacement of Ethernet in the home with direct fiber connections (a little fortune-telling here). 

Fiber at our doorstep? 
It's about time. Fiber's potential is enormous. The backbone of the Internet and voice networks run on these mighty pipes. History has made it clear that if you build a bigger hard drive or offer a faster network connection- they will come. Consumer's find a way to fill their drives with gigabytes worth of precious memories. And lest we forget about the mighty mini netbook revolution that has yet to explode. 

Don't need fiber? Think Blu-ray. SONY is an early Light Peak partner and who better to be positioned at the head of the line. Still cameras, video cameras and other consumer electronics are simply just the start. Consumer fiber could be the beginning of a revolution in consumer electronics - a new standard and a new family of devices. Can't wait :-)




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