Now Wi-Fi bandwidth could be achieved tenfold

Researchers
at Oregon State University have invented a new technology that can increase the
bandwidth of WiFi systems by 10 times, using LED lights to transmit
information. The technology could be integrated with existing WiFi systems to
reduce bandwidth problems in crowded locations, such as airport terminals or
coffee shops, and in homes where several people have multiple WiFi devices.

New
technology created at Oregon State University can use LED lighting to boost the
bandwidth of Wi-Fi systems by about 10 times. Credit: Thinh Nguyen, Oregon
State University

Experts
say that recent advances in LED technology have made it possible to modulate
the LED light more rapidly, opening the possibility of using light for wireless
transmission in a “free space” optical communication system. “In
addition to improving the experience for users, the two big advantages of this
system are that it uses inexpensive components, and it integrates with existing
WiFi systems,” said Thinh Nguyen, an OSU associate professor of electrical
and computer engineering. Nguyen worked with Alan Wang, an assistant professor
of electrical and computer engineering, to build the first prototype.

The
prototype, called WiFO, uses LEDs that are beyond the visual spectrum for
humans and creates an invisible cone of light about one meter square in which
the data can be received. To address the issue of a small area of usability,
the researchers created a hybrid system that can switch between several LED
transmitters installed on a ceiling, and the existing WiFi system. “I
believe the WiFO system could be easily transformed into a marketable product,
and we are currently looking for a company that is interested in further
developing and licensing the technology,” Nguyen said.

The
system can potentially send data at up to 100 megabits per second. Although
some current WiFi systems have similar bandwidth, it has to be divided by the
number of devices, so each user might be receiving just 5 to 10 megabits per
second, whereas the hybrid system could deliver 50-100 megabits to each user. In
a home where telephones, tablets, computers, gaming systems, and televisions
may all be connected to the internet, increased bandwidth would eliminate
problems like video streaming that stalls and buffers.

The
receivers are small photodiodes that cost less than a dollar each and could be
connected through a USB port for current systems, or incorporated into the next
generation of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. (Source: Phys.org)

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