A group of British researchers has taken the lead in the race to provide high-bandwidth network connections via the (mostly) humble light bulb. LiFi founding father Harald Haas and his team have broken the 10Gbps barrier.
Just last week, a Chinese manufacturer showed off a system they’re hoping to commercialize. It’s capable of reaching 150Mbps— not bad, but nowhere near what’s now been accomplished in the UK. Their system Haas’ team has demonstrated utilizes a trio of LEDs (red, green, and blue) which can each push 3.5Gbps.
It’s also a whole lot faster than a similar experimental setup created by researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute back in April. They managed to achieve around 1Gbps per LED, so the RGB configuration could pump out 3Gbps in total.
The increase in throughput is made possible by the University of Strathclyde’s micro-LED “bulbs.” They’re capable transmitting millions of intensity changes every second, and it’s those intensity changes that pass 0s and 1s to the Li-Fi receiver.
Haas knows there’s a long way to go before Li-Fi is ready for use in the real world. But while some think that the fact that LiFi requires a direct line-of-sight is a disadvantage over today’s wireless networks, Haas sees it as a benefit.
Li-Fi signals would be much trickier to intercept, since their range is much more limited and transmission is blocked by walls. That potential increase in security (however small) ought to be enough to get folks interested what with those bizarre malicious appliances floating around.