Putting an end to the woes of slow Wi-Fi, researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have come up with a novel solution — a wireless network based on infrared rays.
The credit for the innovation goes to a Ph.D. student Joanne Oh. The benefit of the research done in Netherlands is two-fold. One is the unraveling of the massive capacity per light ray and leveraging the flexibility of Li-Fi in targeting multiple devices simultaneously.
It also took a leap beyond the already tried LED-based Wi-Fi by tapping instead the infrared rays to carry data to devices.
The second benefit is the massive capacity to the tune of more than 40Gbit/s per ray. Also, the devices are not required to be shared in the system as every gadget gets its share of light.
Wi-Fi radio signals are usually in the frequency range of 2.5 or 5 gigahertz, whereas the infrared light used by TU Eindhoven offers wavelengths averaging 1500 nanometers and up. When light frequencies are high, the data capacity of the light rays will also shoot up.
Amazing Download Speed Of Li-Fi
Showing the potential for massive speed, Joanne Oh ramped up the download speed up to 42.8 Gbps in a distance of 2.5 meters under the system. The value of such a high speed can be gauged by contrasting it with the average connection speed in the Netherlands that is down two thousand times less at 17.6 Mbps. Even the best Wi-Fi will not exceed more than 300 Mbps.
Merits Of Li-Fi Systems
When it comes to the advantages, the system stands out for its simplicity and cost efficiency. Central 'light antennas' take care of the wireless data to direct the light coming from an optical fiber. No power is required and it is maintenance-free as no moving part is involved.
Light rays of different wavelengths in various angles are arranged under a process called 'passive diffraction gratings' by the grated antenna.
When there is a change in the wavelengths of light, the direction of the light will also change automatically. While moving the devices such as smartphone or tablet, the antenna's line of sight may change but that will be taken over by another light antenna.
For tracking the network location of devices, radio signals transmitted in the return direction are leveraged. There is no need to share, as each device gets a different wavelength by the same light antenna. Also, there is no interference from other neighboring Wi-Fi networks.
Li-Fi Commercialization In Five Years
Oh's research was part of the BROWSE project led by Ton Koonen, who is a professor of broadband communication technology.
While Oh set the focus on directable infrared light rays for data transmission, there are others working on a technology that tracks the location of wireless devices and central fiber-optic network that connect with light antennas.
According to Koonen, it will take at least five years for the new technology to be commercialized. He said the devices that can be connected to this new wireless network will include high data guzzlers like video monitors, tablets, and laptops in the first phase.