ThunderboltTechnology – What is it and what are the Open Source implications
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One Line Summary
This presentation will cover the technical details of the Thunderbolt technology as well as the Open Source implications and SW items that will need to be addressed to support the new technology.
Thunderbolt technology is a new technology being implemented by Intel’s LAN Access Division (LAD) which allows for a very fast connection between a PC or laptop and devices. It is done via a single cable and connector and the usage will allow for thinner and lighter notebooks with workstation performance expansion over a wire.
The technology is basically PCIe and Display Port on a single cable simultaneously. This allows for high speed multi-tasking with multi-protocol, bidirectional, dual-channel 10Gbps per port connections. These connections are 40% faster than eSATA and 20x faster than USB2. This will enable activities like Pro class A/V creation with time-synchronized low latency streaming, for example. The benefits for the users include more bandwidth with low overhead for devices connected to the system. It will allow for multiple protocols for more devices to be connected as well as true multi-function devices. It is compatible with standard DisplayPort, both displays and adapters. It also has an 8ns accuracy time sync across 7 hops. It uses native PCIe and DisplayPort drivers. The technology is also simple and flexible in connecting the devices since data plus display are carried on a single cable. More devices are added via daisy chaining them to the other devices.
While there is no real immediate need for added software, LAD will be supplying initial software for peer-to-peer use in Linux and other OSes. LAD will also be working on enablement code for Open Source OSes so that others will be able to use that code. LAD may also supply other use case but initially only peer-to-peer will be done. LAD has not come up with all the use cases that the Open Source community and other are going to come up with for this technology.
John Ronciak has been one of the main Open Source people within Intel LAD and currently represents LAD in a number of Intel forums regarding Open Source and Linux. John will be presenting the new LAD technology called Thunderbolt. The main points regarding the Thunderbolt within the Open Source communities and the Linux OSV’s. John is a SW Architect within LAD with over 25 years of driver writing development. John is also one of the kernel maintainers for the LAD Ethernet drivers, e100, e1000, e1000e, igb and ixgbe.