Chip manufacturer IBM have developed a cost effective way to bring high speed optical transfers to the mainstream market.
Up until now, the transfer of data with pulses of light had been entirely possible but not economical. The equipment required to convert light encoded data into an electrical version that processors can read does not come cheap. IBMs chip has been developed to combine both optical and electrical components alongside each other. By placing the two on the same silicon they can be mass produced at an economical price.
Combining classic electrical circuits with optical components means information can be sent hundreds of times faster than using an entire electrical circuit and with less risk of data loss.
Data centres have already begun experimenting with optics, some replacing copper cables with optical to swap data between racks at speeds of 25Gbps.
It may take a few years to hit the marketplace but the technology is there, high speed transfers are on their way.