Internet infrared system 'Li-Fi' is 100 times faster

Toby Manning
March 20, 2017

Your WiFi could soon be 100 times faster by using rays of infrared light.

It's called LiFi and relies on central "light antennas" to beam rays of different wavelengths to multiple wireless devices.

Several light antennas could be set up in a given area, each equipped with a pair of gratings that beam light rays at different wavelengths and angles.

The direction of the ray of light can also be changed by adjusting the wavelength, according to the researchers. A safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the retina in the eye.

So, if you're walking around while using a smartphone or tablet and move out of the direct beam, another will take its place.

And, to add more devices, you'd just have to assign a different wavelength from the same antenna.

Current wi-fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz. The team said that even with the best Wi-Fi systems currently available, users would not get more than 300 Megabit/s in total, which is some hundred times less than the speed per ray of light achieved by the new system.

As Android Authority points out, there are "some issues using this method", such as the inability for infrared light to go through walls like standard Wi-Fi signals - this means a base antenna would be needed in every room of a house- and the fact that the proposal only tested download speeds, while upload speeds continue to be handled through regular radio signals. Joanne Oh focused predominantly on the technology of data transmission via directable infrared light rays.

He suspects the first devices to use it will be consumer products, including video monitors, laptops, and tablets. However, the drawback here is that the bandwidth is not high and that the connected devices still have to share. Aside from the performance increase, the idea is pretty great because there would be no interference, as light rays could be targeted toward devices.

The work of Oh and Koonen comes under the auspices of the TU/e Institute for Photonic Integration, one of the world's leading research institutes for "photonics", the use of light (photons) rather than electricity (electrons) to transmit data.

Other reports by VgToday

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