Researchers develop infrared-based wi-fi 100 times faster than current ones

Tired of wi-fi woes? Wireless networks crafted from rays of infrared light could soon allow you to connect to the internet 100 times faster than current systems researchers say. A stock image

Tired of wi-fi woes? Wireless networks crafted from rays of infrared light could soon allow you to connect to the internet 100 times faster than current systems researchers say. A stock image

The light-based network can track the precise location of each wireless device based on its radio signal.

By contrast, the optical setup assigns each device a different wavelength that is beamed by the same light antenna, meaning no more sharing bandwidth between devices.

Eindhoven University of Technology Student Joanne Oh worked on a system that uses fiber optic cables - or light antennas - to beam data to wireless devices via rays of harmless infrared light. Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light.

Moreover the technique is virtually harmless with the use of a safe infrared wavelength not reaching the vulnerable retina of eyes.

If the user moves around the premise with the device, like say in an office or a warehouse, the device will be getting the signals as long as it remains within the line of sight of the infrared light beams.

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Whereas traditional Wi-Fi utilizes 2.5 or 5 gigahertz radio signals, Eindhoven's system relies on light wavelengths of 1500 nanometers or more, which has very high frequencies allowing for the larger capacity.

Then antennas, scattered around an area, will beam light rays (the internet signal) at different wavelengths and angles.

To escape the constraints of radio for Wi-Fi transmission in the home, researchers have turned to infrared to create a new system that exceeds 40Gbps capacity, which you could keep all to yourself. An added advantage is that of scrupulous elimination of the phenomenon of interference from a neighboring Wi-fi network.

The team compares this with the average connection speed in the Netherlands, which is two thousand times less (17.6 Mbit/s). While being the most advanced and novel aspect of Photonic technology, the system isn't going to be commercially available until at least next five years. So far, though, the system has only been used with downloads, not uploads yet.

The researchers believe the first devices to be connected to this new kind of wireless network will be high data consumers like video monitors, laptops or tablets. A few other universities and research institutes around the world are also studying whether data can be transmitted via a room's LED lighting. The disadvantage here is that this requires active control of the mirrors and therefore energy, and each mirror is only capable of handling one ray of light at a time. Each mirror could handle only one ray of light at a time.

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