Infrared-Based Wi-Fi Promises to Outclass Current Internet Speeds by A Hundredfold

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How many times have you been frustrated by wonky connections in Wi-Fi networks? How many times have you failed to beat a deadline because of internet downtime? Is your connection too slow for your tastes?

Well, there is hope for you in the very near future.

Times of India reports that researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Holland have developed a wireless network that utilizes infrared rays that have will surpass current Wi-Fi networks speeds up to 100 times! In essence, this system will contain more devices, thereby getting rid of congestion issues that plague existing systems. In fact, its capacity is enormous and stretches up to 40 gigabits per second (Gbit/s), a feat that renders sharing useless because every device connected to the network will have its ray of infrared light.

The next obvious question is how this is made possible. To begin with, the system is relatively easy to set up. Ordinary optic fibers supply infrared rays, and those light packets which provide wireless data are accurately directed to target devices by antennas dubbed ‘light antennas’ because they are conveniently placed on a roof or ceiling.

In addition, those antennas are equipped with gratings that radiate light packets at varying angles and wavelengths, a phenomenon referred to as ‘passive diffraction.’ What is more, the variation of wavelengths translates to changes in the direction of infrared rays. Another notable point is that those infrared rays are safe just as those in remote controls for home appliance because they fall within a wavelength that is harmless to human eyes.

One of the major merits of this setup is that solves disconnection problems in an ingenious manner; if a device is out of range of a light antenna line, another line is received instantly. Next, congestion is solved by assigning different wavelengths of the same light antenna to every device.

Infrared light packets of more than 1500 nanometers are employed new Wi-Fi system, coupled with a frequency of 200 terahertz or more that ousts the current Wi-Fi radio signals with 2.5 cycles per second or 5Ghz. In a test environment, researchers obtained a maximum speed of 42.8 Gbit/s within 2.5 meters! These are insane speeds for download purposes. However, uploads use radio signals, which tend to be controlled due to bandwidth issues and cost-cutting measures by ISPs.

Usually, new technology takes time before it is made available for commercial use. We will wait and see how long this system will turn mainstream.

  • Mike Puchol

    Two big issues with this (a few smaller ones too): physical obstructions, they will block IR just like they will block normal IR. Reflective surfaces can change polarization and induce wave interference effects. The same wave interference effects that will be felt if the density of “light antennas” is increased so as to overcome obstacles. Second biggie is sun radiation, which is an excellent source of broadband IR spectrum noise, so unless the application is only indoors (or night time) this will be a concern. It’s “easy” to develop technology in a lab, but before pushing grandiose-sounding headlines, it must be proven in the field, and show adoption by players willing to put it into the market.