IBM ready to commercialise light pulse technology

Big Blue claims data rates of 25Gbps have already been achieved.

IBM - Optical data transfer

IBM has developed a chip that can transmit data using light signals, and claims this will help firms deal with ever increasing volumes of data.

The "silicon nanophotonic" technology utilises light pulses alongside electric signals, which IBM claims allows more information to be carried between servers at a faster rate than traditional chips.

Big Blue has been working on the technology for 10 years and is ready to commercialise the concept as businesses enter the Big Data era.

IBM wants to commercialise the silicon nanophotonic technology using traditional manufacturing processes. The firm has taken a 90nm CMOS fabrication and integrated a number of modules to facilitate the light phase transfers. Additional components include wavelength division multiplexers (WDM), modulators and detectors.

IBM - Optical data transfer

IBM chip shows blue optical waveguides transmitting high-speed optical signals and yellow copper wires carrying high-speed electrical signals

So far nanophotonic technology has exceeded the data rates of 25Gbps per channel, IBM said.

The current method for increasing the performance in datacentres is to facilitate more parallel processes. This is done by packing more cores onto individuals processors and then loading more of these chips into racks and blades.

IBM claims this type of scaling is unsustainable and not suitable for transferring ExaBytes of data.

The firm claims that optics are "destined" to be utilised in datacentres as it can meet the large bandwidth demands of high-performance computing.

"As it already happened in long-haul communications decades ago when optical fibers replaced copper cables, the copper cables that connect racks in the datacentres are now being replaced by optical fibers," the firm noted on its research page.

"Following the same trend optics can become competitive with copper at shorter and shorter distances eventually leading to optical on-board and may be even on-chip communications."

Dr. Solomon Assefa, research staff member at IBM will reveal further details at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) this week

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

IBM pledges to reskill 30 million people globally by 2030
Careers & training

IBM pledges to reskill 30 million people globally by 2030

13 Oct 2021
Telefónica taps IBM to deploy its first-ever 5G core network
5G

Telefónica taps IBM to deploy its first-ever 5G core network

23 Sep 2021
IBM signs CaixaBank in cloud services deal
cloud computing

IBM signs CaixaBank in cloud services deal

15 Sep 2021
IBM adds new features to Watson Assistant
artificial intelligence (AI)

IBM adds new features to Watson Assistant

9 Sep 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox
Microsoft Windows

Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox

5 Oct 2021