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Optical-based servers to ship in July

Posted on Friday, March 09 2007 @ 09:21:52 CET by

ExtremeTech writes a startup is going to launch a server using optical interconnects in July:
The Lightfleet "Beacon" server will connect multiple Intel Xeon processors using an array of mirrors, that will beam data using light, a system that Lightfleet calls "Corowave." The company demonstrated a 16-node server in 2006 as a proof of concept.

In its initial implementation, Beacon will have 32 simultaneous transmitters operating at 2.5 Gbit/second each, a Lightfleet spokesman said.

The key to Corowave is an optical property that allows beams of light to intersect each other without interference, which allows Corowave to overlap the beams of light, instead of streaming bits serially down a data channel. Interestingly, the light beams connect all parts of the system, in much the same way a HyperTransport-connected microprocessor architecture operates, or a switched fabric. Since all transmitters can be seen by all of the receivers, isolating any faulty connections is easy to achieve, according to the company. Error rates are 10 to the negative 12th power.



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