If the hype is to believed, Li-Fi could be the next Wi-Fi. If that’s the case, then we’re excited — because a team of researchers has just smashed the record for visible light data transmission, pushing it to a staggering 10Gbit/s.
A team of researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, Strathclyde, Oxford and Cambridge, all in the UK, have used a micro-LED light bulb to transmit 3.5Gbit/s across each of the three primary colours, red, green and blue. Add that up and it means that they can transfer 10Gbit/s across the three channels.
The LED bulbs, developed at the University of Strathclyde, allow streams of light to be beamed in parallel, reports the BBC. Each beam carries a separate data stream, each one encoded using digital modulation — Orthogonal Frequency Divisional Multiplexing for the true nerds — to produce millions of changes in light intensity per second. It’s like hitting the on-off switch very, very fast to transfer binary data.
And, clearly, it works. In fact it beats the 150mbps boasted by the recent Chinese Li-Fi initiative, and even the record of 1Gbit/s previously held by Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute. Of course, how useful Li-Fi will ever be is up for debate: it’s fast and cheap, sure, but walls are not its friend. Still, it’s super-cool that the technology is developing at such a rapid pace. [BBC]