Monday, September 28, 2009

The end of USB?

Intel are developing a fiber-optic connection standard that will replace USB, IEEE-1394 (Firewire) and HDMI to name a few. The standard will support multiple protocols and multiple devices on a single cable meaning that it will be used to connect your printer, camera, monitor, portable storage devices and just about anything else that connects to the computer using the same plug. No more wondering if you've got something plugged in correctly! Cables can be up to 100m long and transfer speeds will start at 10Gb per second. That's ten times faster than Gigabit ethernet - imagine transferring an entire blu-ray movie in under 30 seconds! Just another step in making our computers faster and easier to use. The technology is called Light Peak and we should start seeing this appear on computers and devices some time next year.

USB 3.0 is just around the corner too, and although it doesn't boast the speed and operational distance that Light Peak has, it will be backwards compatible with older USB devices, so it's unlikely that we've seen the end of USB yet.

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