Intel and Corning have given further details about a 1.6-Tbps connector and cable they are developing for data centre connectivity.
The collaboration combines Intel’s silicon photonics technology delivering 25 Gbps-per-fibre data rates with Corning’s ClearCurve LX multimode optical fibre and MXC connector. The fibre has a reach of 300m using a 1310nm wavelength which, combined with the MXC connector that supports 64 fibres, will deliver 1.6Tbps.
“Each channel has a send and a receive fibre which are full duplex,” said Victor Krutul, director business development and marketing for silicon photonics at Intel. “You can send 0.8Tbps on one direction and 0.8Tbps in the other direction at the same time.”
The link can be used for connections within a rack and between racks, for example connecting a data centre top-of-rack Ethernet switch with an end-of-row switch. The silicon photonics/ cabling details were given as part of an Intel update on several data centre technologies including its Atom C2000 processor family for microservers, the FM5224, 72-port Ethernet switch chip, and Intel’s Rack Scale Architecture which will use the cabling and connector. Corning claims its ClearCurve LX fibre has been optimized for this application. The multimode fibre can be bent to a smaller bend radius of 7.5mm, and the 50 micron-diameter fibre end face has been increased to 180 microns using a beam expander lens. The lens makes connector alignment easier and the design less sensitive to dust. Corning also says the MXC connector comprises only seven parts, fewer than other optical connectors.
Intel has already demonstrated a 32-fibre prototype using the MXC connector and ClearCurve LX fibre. However, Intel is not saying when the silicon photonics transceiver and fibre/ connector will be generally available. “We are not discussing schedules or pricing at this time,” said Krutul.
By Roy Rubenstein
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