Unveiled: Intel® Thunderbolt 2 Networking


For NAB, Intel® announced the wider adoption of Thunderbolt 2 and the introduction of Thunderbolt Networking technology. Thunderbolt 2 improves over Thunderbolt by allowing the full 20Gbp/s channel to be used for I/O, whereas before, 10Gbp/s was always reserved for display data.

Thunderbolt 2 was announced at last year's NAB; however, it has previously only been available on the Late 2013 Mac Pro, and possibly on one or two motherboards for those building their own computers. In addition to the Mac Pro, Thunderbolt 2 is now an option on the HP Z-series workstations. This means more choices for users looking for the PCI x4 equivalent throughput Thunderbolt 2 makes available to external peripheral devices.

Additionally, Intel has updated the Thunderbolt specification to add Thunderbolt Networking. Thunderbolt Networking allows you to create an ad hoc connection between two computers with 10GbE speed. This saves you from having to purchase a separate 10GbE Ethernet for creating a very fast interface between two computers very near each other, or it can be used as a temporary solution for quickly exchanging data from one computer to another, like from the computer you take in the field and a desktop workstation at home.

Thanks to its growing popularity, there is a plethora of new products at NAB with Thunderbolt support, from high speed SSD RAID storage to PCI Express expansion. There is also a new camera, the CION, from AJA, which uses Thunderbolt 2 to pass 4K video to a computer or recording device.

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