Researchers use light from LEDs to send data wirelessly
Speeds of 230Mbit/sec. reported
Computerworld - Light coming from lamps in your home could eventually be used to encode a wireless broadband signal, according to German researchers.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications at the Heinrich-Hertz Institute in Berlin experimented with using visible light from commercial light-emitting diodes to carry data wirelessly at speeds of up to 230Mbit/sec.
Research into wireless data communications using LEDs has been going on for years, but the 230Mbit/sec. speed is considered a record when using a commercial LED, according to the Optical Society of America, an organization for optics professionals.
It could also be a potential answer to the shortage of radio spectrum bemoaned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and others, optical communications researchers say.
One of the German researchers on the project, Jelena Vucic, said there would be an advantage in using light to carry data over Wi-Fi or another system because the lights are already in a room. Her group's findings will be presented at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference on March 25 in San Diego.
A signal from an LED is generated by slightly flickering all the lights in unison at a rate millions of times faster than the human eye can detect, the OSA statement said. Commercial LEDs have a limited bandwidth of a few megahertz, but Vucic's team was able to increase the amount tenfold by filtering out all but the blue part of the LED spectrum. The team built a visible wireless system in their lab to download data at 100Mbit/sec. and then upgraded the system to get 230Mbit/sec. Vucic said the team should be able to double the data rate again with some modulation adjustments.
In 2008, a separate team of U.K. researchers also explored using visible-light LEDs for wireless communications.
Sending data over fiber-optic cable at enormous speeds has been going on for decades. However, taking data transmission to an open environment such as a living room over light from a lamp would be an enormous step, and a challenging one, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates.
Gold said the German research seems to show data transmission via light only in one direction and only in one room. In comparison, Wi-Fi and other radio transmissions are bidirectional and can pass through walls.
One practical concern in using visible wireless would be getting the data signal to the light itself, Gold said.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 3G/4G Digital Signage Guide Today, the widespread availability of 3G and 4G cellular or wireless broadband networks enables digital signage to be deployed virtually anywhere.
- Enterprises in Motion: In-Vehicle Networks In a world where traditional tethers to the central office have all but vanished, enterprises that operate vehicle fleets require constant and dependable...
- Uninterrupted Internet: Maximizing Revenue and Minimizing Business Risk with 3G/4G Failover Whether your businesses are connected to the Internet via T1/T3, or Cable, incorporating a mobile broadband backup solution adds uptime whenever there is...
- Trends in Pop-up Retail: Innovative Merchandising Driven by Flexible, Dependable Mobile Connectivity This paper outlines the challenges and obstacles to successful implementation, and discusses existing, rapid-deployment solutions for connecting pop-up locations with mission-critical retail applications...
- Live Webcast 5 Steps to Assuring Quality of Experience In order to align monitoring and management practices with the true demands of the business, IT professionals must expand beyond traditional comfort zones...
- Live Webcast Master the Changing SAP Landscape with Performance Management SAP landscapes are not getting simpler. Gradually, business processes that used to be contained on a single SAP system now involve a range...
- Don't Believe the Hype: Not All Containers are Created Equal Hear executives discuss the 3 C's of Secure Mobility-content, credentials, and configurations-and learn the inherent security risks to your organization of using MDM...
- Navigating the New Wireless Landscape Thriving in the new wireless landscape View Now>>