ExpEther, as the company has named the system, was unveiled on Tuesday at an NEC exhibition in Tokyo and demonstrated running on a PC that was connected to peripherals over the technology.
It works by placing ExpEther adapters, which in the prototype system look like regular PCI cards, at the end of each connection, said Atsushi Iwata, a senior manager at NEC's system platforms research laboratory.
A single adapter sits in the PC and handles the interface between the PCI Express bus and Ethernet network. At the far end of each network connection sits another ExpEther adapter and a conventional PCI Express adapter for the peripheral to be connected.
For example, a hard-disk drive was connected to a conventional Serial ATA card and a mouse and keyboard to a USB card. The ExpEther cards alongside each of the interface boards handled the conversion to Ethernet for the journey back to the PC.
While the arrangement makes for a lot of adapters and cards it has the advantage of allowing use of an PCI Express adapter and conventional network routers and switches.