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PCI-SIG creates Optical Workgroup tasked with optical interconnect implementation for future PCIe versions

Various optical interconnect types (Image Source:
Various optical interconnect types (Image Source:
To alleviate signal loss at speeds beyond 64 GT/s, PCI-SIG is looking to implement optical connections for future PCIe revisions. The newly-formed Optical Workgroup will handle the implementation of the new interconnects across a wide range of optical technologies and form-factors.

Both Intel and AMD motherboards feature support for the PCIe 5.0 standard, even though its use is currently limited to NVMe SSDs and a single Chinese GPU. While consumers might still not get to fully benefit from the 5.0 iteration over the next few years, PCI-SIG, the consortium that issues PCIe specs, is already preparing the push for the PCie 6.0 standard and even has preliminary drafts for the PCie 7.0 version. For now, the regular copper interconnects seem to be enough up to the 5.0 iteration, but PCI-SIG is considering using optical interconnects for future versions in order to preserve signal integrity at 64 GT/s and 128 GT/s. As a first step in this direction, PCI-SIG has announced that it is establishing a separate Optical Workgroup tasked with issuing optical interconnect specifications.

Talking about the benefits coming with the jump to optical interconnects and the technologies that stand to benefit from it, Research Fellow Nathan Brookwood from Insight 64 explains that these “will be an important advancement for PCIe architecture as they will allow for higher performance, lower power consumption, extended reach and reduced latency. Many data-demanding markets and applications such as Cloud and Quantum Computing, Hyperscale Data Centers and High-Performance Computing will benefit from PCIe architecture leveraging optical connections.”

It remains to be determined which PCIe versions will first integrate support for optical connections. Meanwhile, PCI-SIG is open to feedback from all its members in order to set specific goals and requirements that could lead to drafting the first optical interconnect spec draft.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 08 > PCI-SIG creates Optical Workgroup tasked with optical interconnect implementation for future PCIe versions
Bogdan Solca, 2023-08- 3 (Update: 2023-08- 3)