Intel is taking Thunderbolt 2 technology a step further with the addition of Thunderbolt Networking. As the name suggests, this is a new way to directly connect computers using a standard Thunderbolt cable that emulates an Ethernet connection environment and will reduce the need to use an external hard drive or flash drive to facilitate file transfers.
The technology was announced and demonstrated at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. In addition to supporting 20Gbps connections for peripherals, networked traffic will enjoy speeds of up to 10Gbps. Drivers already exist for Mac with OS X Mavericks and Intel is working on a PC driver that will be available soon. With it, users will be able to connect two PCs together or a PC and a Mac for quick and easy file transfers.
Thunderbolt technology got off to a slow start but adoption has been picking up as of late. Last month, Western Digital launched the first Thunderbolt-powered portable dual hard drive and we've also seen new offerings from LaCie and StarTech.
Intel is already working on an even faster version of Thunderbolt that would feature a throughput of 50Gbps but because they believe current speeds are adequate, they aren't in any big hurry to bring it to market. Thunderbolt 2 is already twice as fast as USB 3.1.
Outside of storage solutions, Thunderbolt technology combines PCI Express and DisplayPort and is often used to connect monitors to computers.