Intel unveils 10-gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Networking coming to Macs, PCs

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited April 2014
Intel on Monday took the covers off of Thunderbolt Networking, an addition to the Thunderbolt 2 interconnect standard that will allow users to transfer data between two Macs and PCs at up to 10 gigabits per second over an emulated Ethernet connection.




Mac users with Thunderbolt 2-equipped Macs running the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, can already take advantage of the feature, the chipmaker said in a release. A PC driver allowing data transfer across operating systems will be available "soon."

Thunderbolt has long had the ability to carry networking signals, but was previously practically limited to throughput of just 1 gigabit per second. Thunderbolt Networking increases that limit by an order of magnitude, though the connection appears to be purely local -- limited to two computers -- for now.

There is no word on when Thunderbolt Networking will be available for PC, though Intel is giving demonstrations of the technology at the annual National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. Video professionals will especially appreciate the boost in transfer speed as the industry moves toward ultra-high resolution 4K video, which means a significant increase in file sizes.

Apple, as a co-inventor of the Thunderbolt standard, generally ships new Thunderbolt features well in advance of the rest of the industry. However, only the newly-redesigned Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 67
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    “But no one will adopt Thunderbolt!”

     

    Is it possible there are already more Thunderbolt devices in existence now than there are Cat7 devices?

  • Reply 2 of 67
    Watch the BYOPC crowd collectively yawn at this while they trumpet the benefits of USB 3.0, because Thunderbolt will be forever stigmatized as an "Apple proprietary technology".
  • Reply 3 of 67
    seankillseankill Posts: 494member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    “But no one will adopt Thunderbolt!”

     

    Is it possible there are already more Thunderbolt devices in existence now than there are Cat7 devices?


    I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

  • Reply 4 of 67
    "MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"

    Really?
  • Reply 5 of 67
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

    I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

     

    That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

  • Reply 6 of 67
    irelandireland Posts: 17,686member

    From Apple's website:

     

    Quote:

    Thunderbolt gives you two channels on the same connector with 10Gb/s of throughput in both directions. Ultrafast, ultraflexible Thunderbolt 2 pushes that to 20Gb/s.


     

    ?

     

    Sorry, NETWORKING. My bad,

  • Reply 7 of 67
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,462member
    seankill wrote: »
    I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

    10GBASE-T can utilize Cat6, Cat6a or Cat7. Which you choose will depend on distance. Cat6a/7 yields the old norm of 100m while the Cat6 is ~55m.
  • Reply 8 of 67
    blokeyblokey Posts: 1member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…


    No not so much.

     

    Cat5 / Cat6 / Cat6a etc are the quality (and type) of cable.  Higher speed networking usually requires a decent cable, but you can run 1000BASE-T with Cat5 perfectly fine.

  • Reply 9 of 67
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 324member

    Thunderbolt will be/is just like USB was...useless until Apple started using it, even though it had shipped with PCs for quite some time.

  • Reply 10 of 67
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    when apple ships a Time Capsule/Airport Extreme with this so your router is 'the other computer' and the disk within the time capsule is a couple TB of SATA III 6Gb/Sec disk this will make sense as a product 'for the rest of us.'


     


    I for one would love for it to take 2 minutes to scan/compare/backup/verify my backups instead of 20 as they do now over my Gbit connection, but with the molasses slow drives Apple employs in their Time Capsules.
  • Reply 11 of 67
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,151moderator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post



    "MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"



    Really?

     

    Well, maybe he meant ports.  LOL!

  • Reply 12 of 67
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    but does nothing for my time warner connection which is off line half the time and slower than an elderly snail the rest.
    cnocbui
  • Reply 13 of 67
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member
    I use TB in target-mode when copying 20GB files between macs. I got spoiled doing this. Doing it via Ethernet would be great! I'd love to have Apple incorporated this into Time Capsule.

    Of course, the Thunderbolt haters are remaining very quiet right now. Whiners.
  • Reply 14 of 67
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…


    Actually Cat6a (augmented) is rated for 10G but it is a lot thicker cable though then Cat6 (1G). For new installations, Cat6 is getting the lions share right now but some institutions and universities are putting in Cat6a for future proofing. I have never heard of any Cat 7 installations yet so I don't think any cable manufacturer has released that yet. Cat 7 provides 10G speed but with less cross-talk over the pairs of wires due to its strict shielding requirements so it is suitable in high EMF areas.

     

    You are correct though. There is more thunderbolt cables out there than Cat 7

  • Reply 15 of 67
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This sounds like a great way to add 10GigE to "PCs".

    That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

    As [@]ChristophB[/@] notes above CAT6a was improvement to CAT6 to allow it to support 10GigE. Still, I think your point probably holds with referring to 10GigE interfaces in general as even now I have only seen it on the newer, high-end routers. If you really need 10Gib/s there are better solutions, like optical, which might even be cheaper at this point. (Haven't priced these components in a long time)

    PS: Even Cat5e can handle 10Gib/s up to 45 meter.
  • Reply 16 of 67
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post



    I use TB in target-mode when copying 20GB files between macs. I got spoiled doing this. Doing it via Ethernet would be great! I'd love to have Apple incorporated this into Time Capsule.



    Of course, the Thunderbolt haters are remaining very quiet right now. Whiners.

    I got a new Mac Mini at work and transferred all my O/S, files and settings from my old Macbook Air over to it via thunderbolt 1. It took 15 minutes for a 256GB drive. The Mac interface to do it was so freakin easy and fast. Loaded up my Mac Mini and everything was right there. This is how computers should work.

  • Reply 17 of 67
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

    CAT 5 is Gigabit Ethernet. The higher standard cables are for different carry rate signals. But standard Gigabit Ethernet works just fine on CAT 5.
  • Reply 18 of 67
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post

     

    Thunderbolt will be/is just like USB was...useless until Apple started using it, even though it had shipped with PCs for quite some time.


    Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

  • Reply 19 of 67
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    negafox wrote: »
    Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

    Yes, Apple was the first major PC vendor to go all-in with USB 1.0 and to eschew expensive, large and slow serial and SCSI connectors.

    edit: I believe it was the original iMac in May 1998 that first came with 2x12Mib/s USB 1.0.
  • Reply 20 of 67
    rraburrabu Posts: 239member

    If you read the Intel press release linked in the article, this article has a few mistakes. First, this is not exclusive to thunderbolt 2; works fine with thunderbolt 1. Second, this is already available on Macs running Mavericks. What Intel is releasing is a PC driver bringing a compatible feature to Windows opening up PC to PC connections and Mac to PC connections; we can already do Mac to Mac.

    Macintosh ‘11
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