Intel prepping Thunderbolt successor for 2015 launch

Intel is reportedly developing a new class of interconnect technology capable of transferring data at up to five times the speed of its recently launched Thunderbolt protocol.

The Thunderbolt successor combines silicon components with optical networking to achieve speeds of 50 gigabits per second over distances of up to 100 meters.

Jeff Demain, strategy director of circuits and system research at Intel Labs, told IDG News the new technology will be ready for use by 2015 in PCs, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices such as televisions.

According to Demian, Thunderbolt will likely “coexist” alongside the more advanced transfer protocol.

“We see them as complementary. It’s the evolution of these connectors and protocols as they move forward. 

“[Besides], Thunderbolt is more than a cable. It’s a router chip that aggregates DisplayPort and PCI-Express.”

Thunderbolt – aka LightPeak – is capable of delivering 10 gigabits per second, while supporting “every important” I/O standard.

The advanced protocol offers two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each and delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays.

Thunderbolt I/O also supports FireWire, USB consumer devices, Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters and DisplayPort for high resolution displays.

In addition, the new protocol works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.