THE PROBLEM with WiFi is that for something that we need so universally these days, it's a bit bobbins. Sure, the technology has moved on a heck of a lot, but there's still things that it won't do. Most notably it won't keep its speed over any kind of distance.
Now, thanks to a PhD thesis from the Netherlands, all that could be set to change, on paper at least, thanks to the use of infrared waves (IR) as the carrier, instead of the standard radio frequencies (RF).
If it works in practice like it does on paper, reports Engadget, you can expect a light ray to be able to carry an astounding 40 gigabits per second - that's 40000Mb/s - compare that with 200Mb/s for a top-tier UK home connection.
But better than that, it has no interference. None. Zip. Dropped packets are not an issue and power usage is low, way low. Light antennas refract lights to form beams that directly target each device without interference.
The downside is that you'll need a light antenna for each room, as line-of-sight is important, because walls. So roll out of a system like this won't be cheap, though probably not as much as you'd think.
Joanne Oh, wrote the thesis for the Eindhoven University of Technology, and whilst there are some serious disadvantages (not least of all the fact that you can break your internet connection by simply putting your hand in front of the transmitter) the concept is sound enough to be used in specific use cases, where a closed, superfast wireless environment is needed. A good example of this might be 8K or even 16K streaming direct from the fibre to your TV..
The trick will be getting lossless internet data from the line to the light antenna in each room, or that figure of 40Gb/s will drop quite spectacularly. Fortunately, the rest of the PhD community at Eindhoven is working on ways to make Oh's concept into reality, with project head Tom Koonen saying that the technology could be ready though not for a good five years. µ
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