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800 MPS with LED Light Bulb Networking

By Lito Carasig - Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Leave it to the German geniuses at Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications to think of something to brighten up our day, and at the same time, make internet access via optical WLAN fast enough to even make Ethernet jealous.

It was only last year that Chinese scientists demoed data transmissions using simple blue LEDs, but already the German scientists at Heinrich Hertz Institute have made significant leaps and bounds by not only hitting 500 Mbps back at the start of the year, now they have demonstrated an even higher transmission rate of up to 800 Mbps by using a combination of red, white, blue and green LED’s.

As part of Europe’s OMEGA Home Gigabit Access project, researchers have been developing a system of home access network that can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps. This means that streaming multimedia content - or any data for that matter - from your home server to any Wi-Fi capable device would be very fast and lag-free. In this case, normal LED’s are used and a modulator functions to control the flicker of the LED which, in turn, controls the rate of transmission. Photo diodes are fitted to the devices in order to receive the high-bandwidth signals from the LED transmitters.

You may remember back in 2008, the US had funded research which gave an $18.5 million grant to Boston University as part of researchers’ efforts to make this line-of-sight technology a reality.  With the recent success of the German researchers, it seems that this line-of-sight system can be harnessed to work alongside existing data transfer technology such as Wi-Fi and 3G rather than replace them, since the researchers are the first to admit that the signal can be easily blocked once the photo diode is covered, shaded or even if it just loses sight of the LED source.

Practical uses of the technology can be applied in places where traditional means of data transmission are not possible (or at least less feasible) such as in hospitals, aircrafts or other places that have very limited space for running cables.

Boosting transmission speed is the next logical step in the researchers’ quest to make this technology commercially feasible and if they are successful, we might just be lucky enough to watch our HD movies courtesy of our Home LED lighting system.  Sounds great. Looks even better.

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