Wi-fi on rays of light: 100 times faster, and never overloaded

The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity - more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s) - but does away with the need to share Wi-Fi as every device gets its own ray of light. The wireless network tracks location of the wireless devices with its radio signal and does not create any interference with a neighboring Wi-Fi network.

Scientists in Netherland said they have developed a new Wi-Fi technology which is said to be faster than existing wireless networks by a factor of nearly hundred.

It would rely on direct rays of light from an optical fiber, and as it has no moving parts, it would be a maintenance free system that requires no power, the researchers explain. Eindhoven's light network uses 1,500 nanometer and higher wavelengths and operates at a much higher frequency than radio of 200 terahertz.

The Eindhoven team also claim the system devised by them is also simple and cheap to setup and maintain compared to existing systems. For comparison, the average connection speed in the Netherlands is two thousand times less (17.6 Mbit/s).

Once a smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna's line of sight, then another light antenna takes over.

The best system available today can achieve a total of 300 Mbit/s, which is 100 times less than the speed of the LiFi. Joanne Oh even managed a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 meters. "Li-Fi" may hit the stores in just five years, said the researchers. He thinks that the first devices to be connected to this new kind of wireless network will be high data consumers like video monitors, laptops or tablets.

Oh's infrared network is part of the Eindhoven's BROWSE project, which explores how to exploit the larger bandwidth offered by optics in conjunction with smart networking to boost in-door wireless capacity. A few other universities and research institutes around the world are also studying whether data can be transmitted via a room's LED lighting.

So far, the study has only used infrared for downloads, and retained radio for uploads since most apps have lower upload demands.

  • Leroy Wright