Eindhoven University of Technology researchers say their prototype device can provide WiFi speeds hundreds of times faster than current commercial systems, using infrared rays of light. Jim Drury reports.
Researchers say their new wireless network that uses harmless infrared rays will make wifi speeds up to 300 times faster. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR TON KOONEN, EINDHOVEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "What we are doing actually is using rays of light which convey the information in a wireless way, and each ray is acting as a very high capacity channel. It's actually the same as an optical fibre without needing the fibre, and what we achieved up to this moment is 112 gigabits per second." That's the equivalent data of three full-length movies being downloaded per second. Light antennas radiate multiple invisible wavelengths at various angles. If a user's smartphone or tablet moves out of one antenna's sightline, another takes over. Infrared wavelengths don't go into your eyes, making them safe to use. The lack of moving parts makes the system maintenance and power-free. While each user gets their own antenna. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR TON KOONEN, EINDHOVEN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SAYING: "The big benefits we see of our technique is that you offer unshared capacity to each individual user, so you get a guaranteed capacity. Next to that you only get a beam if you need the traffic. So we're not illuminating the whole place where maybe a single user is there. That means it's much more power efficient. Another efficiency, another advantage, is that light doesn't go through walls. So that means your communication is really confined to the particular room. Nobody can listen in from outside, so it offers you a lot of security." The team is seeking funding to help make the technology widespread within five years.