PCI-SIG establishes a new workgroup to seek industry feedback in developing an optical interconnect

Today, the PCI-SIG announced the inception of a new task force dedicated to devising a means of delivering PCI Express (PCIe) technology via optical connections. The PCI-SIG’s Optical Interconnect Working Group seeks wide-ranging support from optical technologies, potentially developing dimensional specifications for certain technologies.

Researchers opine that optical interconnection will herald significant advancement in PCIe architecture, allowing for enhanced performance, reduced power consumption, extensive coverage, and minimal latency. Numerous markets and applications with extensive data requirements, such as cloud services, quantum computing, hyperscale data centers, and high-performance computing, stand to benefit from a PCIe technology architecture facilitated by optical interconnection.

Al Yanes, President and Chairman of the PCI-SIG, noted the industry’s burgeoning interest in extending the applicability of the mature, iterative, and energy-efficient PCIe technical standards by actualizing optical interconnections between applications. The PCI-SIG welcomes industry feedback and invites all PCI-SIG members to join the new task force, sharing their respective expertise to assist in establishing specific goals and requirements for the group.

Currently, the PCI-SIG is facilitating the development of the PCIe 7.0 specifications, having released version 0.3 of the PCIe 7.0 specifications roughly two months ago. The data transmission rate of the PCIe 7.0 specifications will once again double, reaching 128 GT/s, significantly surpassing the 64 GT/s of PCIe 6.0 and the 32 GT/s of PCIe 5.0. A PCIe 7.0 x16 channel can support 512 GB/s and continues to incorporate the four-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) signaling and 1b/1b flit mode encoding and forward error correction (FEC) functions from the previous PCIe 6.0 specifications.