MXC Optical Connector and ClearCurve LX Fiber Technology 1,600,000,000,000 bps

MXC Optical Connector and ClearCurve LX Fiber cable with 1,600,000,000,000 bits per second!
[By Mario Paniccia, Intel Fellow and General Manager, Silicon Photonics Solutions Group]

Over the past few days, there have been a number of announcements in the optical world from Corning, US Conec, TE Connectivity , Molex and others in support of the new MXC* connector  technology that are quite exciting.  Before I get into what they announced, I should answer why Id be excited about a simple connector.

First off, its because its not just a simple connector. It is a core building block for optical (or photonic) communications and will help define the way data centers are built in the future. Why should you care? Because it will help serve up all of what you love about the web, apps, and more much, much faster.

For example, one MXC cable  can transmit data at 1.6Tera-bits per second (64 fibers at 25Gbs).  Thats 1,600,000,000,000 bits per second.   If you could transmit data at that speed, you could download a two-hour HD movie from iTunes (4GB) in less than two seconds.  With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (1 followed by 18 zeroes) created every day, I doubt anyone questions that we are going to need the higher bandwidth that MXC cables  provides in our 21st century data centers.

To make this a reality, the industry needs to work together. This is where the exciting announcements come in.   US Conec announced they are making parts for the connector which they will sell to cable companies. Corning, Molex and TE Connectivity announced they would make cable assemblies using the MXC connectors.  US Conec and Intel will also host an MXC adopter's forum for current and future companies that want to use MXC cables at OFC on March11th, 2014. All of this together means that the ecosystem is lining up and momentum for this technology continues to mount.

Microsoft had the following to say  about MXC technology:
"Microsoft is pleased to join the MXC Adopters Forum and looks forward to evaluating MXC based products said Kushagra Vaid, General Manager of Cloud Server Engineering at Microsoft.  We believe that MXC along with Intel® Silicon Photonics will be instrumental in shaping next generation high performance data center architectures. We look forward to working with Intel and open standards bodies like OCP to accelerate information sharing and industry adoption".

For those new to this topic, MXC cables have several advantages over traditional optical connectors besides the 1.6Tbps bandwidth.  MXC connectors  have fewer parts, are more robust, smaller, and are able to support 64 fibers and with a unique telescoping lens design that is 10 times more resistant to dust.

MXC connectors, coupled with Intel Silicon Photonics, will enable many new data center innovations.  For example, Fujitsu recently demonstrated an expansion box that increases the storage capacity and adds CPU accelerators to its 1U server.  In September, Intel demonstrated a new rack architecture called RSA that when used with MXC cables and Intel silicon photonics enables a totally new server architecture that increases performance and decreases cost.  In the coming months, we expect to see more demonstrations and announcements about MXC and Intel Silicon Photonics.

Finally I am happy to report that over 90 people representing 31 companies attended our first MXC Adopters meeting on March 11th, 2014 at OFC.

MXC Technology Will Light Up 21st Century Data Centers

Reference and Copyrights: Intel research
Silicon Photonics and MXC technology
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