Skip to Main Content
Optical fiber links have become ubiquitous for links at the metropolitan and wide area distance scales, and have become common alternatives to electrical links in local area networks and cluster networks. As optical technology improves and link frequencies continue to increase, optical links will be increasingly considered for shorter, higher-bandwidth links such as I/O, memory, and system bus links. For these links closer to processors, issues such as packaging, power dissipation, and components cost assume increasing importance along with link bandwidth and link distance. Also, as optical links move steadily closer to the processors, we may see significant differences in how servers, particularly high-end servers, are designed and packaged to exploit the unique characteristics of optical interconnects. This paper reviews the various levels of a server interconnect hierarchy and the current status of optical interconnect technology for these different levels. The potential impacts of optical interconnect technology on future server designs are also reviewed.
Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.