Having blazing fast internet speed is a dream for thousands of netizens across the world. Researchers at Oregon State University have invented a new technology which can boost the bandwidth of WiFi systems by 10 times, using LED lights to transmit information. The technology can be integrated with existing WiFi systems to reduce bandwidth problems in crowded locations, such as airports or coffee shops and in homes with multiple WiFi devices. If this research ever goes in the mainstream, netizens will have many reasons to cheer. The invention will pave way for higher data accessibility and adds more number of users. This will also help to boost the technologies which are dependent on WiFi. The biggest win for this research is that it can be integrated with existing WiFi systems and therefore doesn't involve extra overhead costs.
Recent advances in LED technology has 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 associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. "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 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. For addressing 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.
The system can potentially send data at up to 100 megabits per second. Some current WiFi systems have similar bandwidth, but it has to be divided by the number of devices connected, so each user might be receiving just 5 to 10 megabits per second, the hybrid system could deliver 50-100 megabits to each user, researchers said.
The research team has already secured a provisional patent for WiFO and is now looking for sponsorships and partners for manufacturing WiFO commercially. Nguyen said that the WiFO can easily be made in as low as a dollar and is adaptable to USB standards.