An experiment by scholars at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has demonstrated a wireless network based on infrared rays that can move data at speeds of 42.8Gbps.
The system, which is the work of new Ph.D recipient Joanne Oh, uses light “antennas,” which don’t have any moving parts, translating signals from a fiber-optic cable into infrared light and beaming them to receivers in the same room, which can be tracked by their return signals – when a user’s device moves out of one beam’s area of function, another light antenna can take over.
The concept of “Li-Fi,” or the use of light signals to transmit information wirelessly, is not new, but Oh’s low-maintenance infrared endpoints are novel. And while more work must be done on the central fiber-optic network necessary to run this system, the university says that it’ll be usable with common endpoints like laptops and tablets.
The real advancement is the use of a pair of gratings in each antenna, which are designed to “radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles,” according to the university. This means that the system merely needs to change the wavelength slightly to alter the course of the beam of infrared light and track its assigned endpoint.
Like most novel photonic technology, Oh’s system isn’t going to be commercially available for a long time – the university’s announcement says that it’ll be at least five years. But it could hold some promise as a short-range solution for dense concentrations of endpoints.