Intel expands 10Gbps Thunderbolt Ethernet capability to Windows

Intel logoIf standard gigabit Ethernet isn't cutting it for you, Intel will soon give you another option: this week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, the company announced a new feature called "Thunderbolt Networking" that will soon be available to all PCs with Thunderbolt 2 controllers.

The feature, which will be enabled by an upcoming Windows driver update, will "emulat[e] an Ethernet connection environment" and provide a 10Gbps two-way link between two computers connected with a Thunderbolt cable. Since you'll need to connect the two computers directly to each other, this solution obviously won't scale as well as real 10Gbps networking equipment. But for now, that hardware remains relatively uncommon and expensivewell outside the price range of individuals and smaller businesses. Thunderbolt Networking is apparently not being enabled for older computers with first-generation Thunderbolt controllers.

Intel expands 10Gbps Thunderbolt Ethernet capability to Windows

While the feature will be new to the Windows operating system, the ability to network two Thunderbolt Macs together was introduced back in Mavericks. It doesn't appear to require Thunderbolt 2 on that platform, though as we experienced, configuring a Thunderbolt Bridge can make for fast but occasionally choppy transfer speeds. That test connected one Thunderbolt 2 Mac to an older model with a first-generation Thunderbolt controller, thoughit's possible that connecting Thunderbolt 2 Macs to each other results in a more stable connection however. This new Windows driver update will enable any two Thunderbolt 2 PCs and Macs to be connected, though to date the Windows laptops, workstations, and motherboards with integrated Thunderbolt 2 controllers have been few and far between.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Intel, Thunderbolt

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