Scientists build 800Mbps wireless network with just LEDs

By on August 2, 2011, 5:00 PM

Scientists working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications (Heinrich Hertz Institute) in Berlin, Germany have successfully developed a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) capable of speeds up to 800Mbps. They used it to send full HD movies to notebooks, smartphones, and other devices, according to Slashgear. Don't think that's much of a big deal? What if I told you the main component was normal red, green, blue, and white Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)? That's right; now I've got your attention.

With a little bit of tinkering, the researchers turned regular LEDs, which these days can be found in everything from flashlights to Christmas tree lights, into an affordable and fast wireless network. The LEDs, placed on the ceiling, have a coverage area of about 10 square meters. They essentially blink on and off extremely fast to transmit data, controlled by a simple modulator. The signals are picked up by a receiver, which can be placed anywhere within the coverage radius.

The technology could prove useful in locations where traditional wireless networks are banned or cannot function. Unfortunately, since visible light like this cannot penetrate through walls and can be easily blocked by moving objects, including people, this is more of a research demonstration than a viable solution.

The advantages are obvious: the lights can be modified to suit networking at little cost and with only minor adjustment, they can be used in places where traditional radio or wired networking is less feasible, and there's also no limit on the number of recipients of the data. Gadgets wanting to receive the signal need to be outfitted with a simple photo diode, so all you need to do is buy as many diodes as you have devices. While this line-of-sight technology won't replace your standard Cat 5 or WiFi equipment anytime soon, it may one day be used in more public places, such as airplanes or hospitals.




User Comments: 18

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NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Very creative. I wonder how this idea came to mind.

Guest said:

is a technology that has been investigated for over 100 years. Graham Bell himself and developed a device called the photophone, with which he managed to transmit sound through a light beam.

Guest said:

That is almost the same as a remote long (infrared LED), but with much more speed and instead of visible light or infrared This is a weapon of mass destruction epileptic

Emin3nce said:

In planes? *stands up and shuts the Auto-Navigation off*

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

basically it's fiberoptic with out the fiber so I guess it's just optic lol!

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Guest said:

is a technology that has been investigated for over 100 years. Graham Bell himself and developed a device called the photophone, with which he managed to transmit sound through a light beam.

Audio at the speed of light?

yRaz yRaz said:

NTAPRO said:

Guest said:

is a technology that has been investigated for over 100 years. Graham Bell himself and developed a device called the photophone, with which he managed to transmit sound through a light beam.

Audio at the speed of light?

At first I thought that was really funny, but then I realized that radio signals were just light anyway... At least it's faster than the speed of electricity.

jerrypalmer said:

And i hope the LED can also make the system cheaper than before so it will become affordable for all of us.

NunjaBusiness said:

yRaz said:

At first I thought that was really funny, but then I realized that radio signals were just light anyway... At least it's faster than the speed of electricity.

Now, I know radio and visible light are both made up of electromagnetic waves, but radio does not equal light. I believe that is what you call a "fallacy of the undistributed middle."

And I think electricity travels at the speed of light.

Someone correct me if I am wrong.

yRaz yRaz said:

nunjabusiness said:

yRaz said:

At first I thought that was really funny, but then I realized that radio signals were just light anyway... At least it's faster than the speed of electricity.

Now, I know radio and visible light are both made up of electromagnetic waves, but radio does not equal light. I believe that is what you call a "fallacy of the undistributed middle."

And I think electricity travels at the speed of light.

Someone correct me if I am wrong.

I was referring to electricity running through copper wire.

[link]

I'm almost certain radio waves are light

dotVezz said:

[link]

For those of us who want to look at a funnier explanation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

Visible "light" and radio waves are both on the electromagnetic spectrum. But a good way to think of it is this:

Light is electromagnetic energy, and radio waves are electromagnetic energy. They are the same thing, but because of their different wavelengths, the methods of utilizing the energy is different.

Light is not radio, radio is not light. But they are the same thing (kinda).

treetops treetops said:

I read about this last year glad to see they finally made the concept a reality.

Guest said:

What if there exist or made a Variable Transducer or Spectrum Variable that you can adjust the Radio Waves to Produce a Visible Light Waves and vice versa? '_'

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Yea they are all electromagnetic energy (radio, IR, UV, Gamma rays, micro waves and etc) they are all different wave lengths. Gah where the heck is an online white board when I need one... I really wish I could explain this in person...

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

yRaz said:

At first I thought that was really funny, but then I realized that radio signals were just light anyway... At least it's faster than the speed of electricity.

Well, electrons in the common outlets move at merely millimetres per second. So, in some cases, you can in fact run faster than electricity

Energy moves at the speed of light in its selective medium though.

I'm glad that this turned real from concept though.

yRaz yRaz said:

dotvezz said:

[link]

For those of us who want to look at a funnier explanation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

Visible "light" and radio waves are both on the electromagnetic spectrum. But a good way to think of it is this:

I love that link, wont forget any of it. What really got me is that toasters are on there... And that potato, very important piece of information about the potato

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

cant wait to be able to power my computer with light

haha

Ithryl said:

dotvezz said:

[link]

Heh that's brilliant.

I can imagine some potentially practical use for this form of information exchange. For example passing cars could blink at each other and exchange dunno what, playlists maybe. Or the information about their drivers and in case of compatibility turn around to grab them a coffee.

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