updated 08:35 am EDT, Thu October 8, 2009
Intel Light Peak cabling may come early
Intel's fiber optic Light Peak interconnect standard could be ready sooner than commonly expected, based on plans from one of the company's key suppliers. Foci Fiber Optic Communication said to CNET on Thursday that it will start mass producing both the internal cables as well as Light Peak-based, USB-like cables at the start of 2010. Production on such a level is frequently, though not always, an indicator that companion hardware will arrive in a similar timeframe.
A release would depend on Intel also having a chipset that recognizes Light Peak, though Intel has promised that one should exist sometime next year.
One apparent leak had claimed that Apple would be one of the earliest to use Light Peak and might have Macs available in the fall that use it to merge multiple connections into one port or standard. It was suggested that Apple was directly responsible for proposing the standard and gained support when Intel demonstrated Light Peak using a "Hackintosh" setup, but the Mac designer is now believed to be just one of several involved in the format.
Foci in its discussion did provide insight as to the design of early cables. As glass fiber optic cables are normally brittle, companies were originally expected to use plastic fiber. However, its performance was poor enough for Foci that it instead used a particularly flexible variety of glass fiber treated for extra resistance. The result has the speed needed to sustain Light Peak's 10Gbps but can be coiled as tightly as an inch in diameter.
Foci's external Light Peak cables, using USB connectors on either end