Weâ€™ve been waiting for USB 3.0 for 2 years, so long in fact that the next, next generation technologies are starting to emerge. Back in September, Intel demonstrated its new Light Peak technology, aimed to bring fiber optics mainstream. The technology is intended as a single replacement for all current PC buses such as USB, HDMI, FireWire, VGA, audio, and Cat5. It could not only replace our current cables for connecting devices to our PC, but also all of the cables inside our PC. Light Peak supports data transfer rates starting at 10 gigabits per second (twice the rates of USB 3.0) and has the potential to scale to 100 gigabits per second.
Although it sounds far off, itâ€™s closer than you would think. Intel says it is almost ready to be integrated into devices. One company, Foci Fiber Optic, even has plans for mass production starting in early 2010. Some reports have speculated that Intel has postponed plans to integrate USB 3.0 into its chipsets until 2011 showing preferences to its own Light Peak technology. Regardless of which technology gets standardized, either will help eliminate many of the high-speed data streaming challenges presented in data acquisition applications today.