Astfalk, G. Appl. Phys. A (2009) 95: 933. doi:10.1007/s00339-009-5115-4
Our focus here is on data communications within IT equipment and in IT data centers. Optical communications is not new. Thus the obvious question is likely; why a paper entitled, “Why optical data communications and why now?”. The reasons are twofold. First, optical data communications is more necessary now than it has ever been in the past. It is not excessive to even consider that it will be required in the not too distant future. Second, the advances in the broad field of photonics and optics have brought optical communications nearly to the point that it can finally cross over the threshold to be less expensive than electronic signaling. In this paper we make the case why we must aggressively pursue optics for data communications at all length scales within the data center. The summarization of this paper is that optical communications is inevitable, and we offer reasons why we believe this is true.