Visible light used for networking Page: 1

Turn that light off ?

When networking PC's there are a few connection method options, but all of them have their drawbacks. With wireless, the connections can sometimes be unreliable, and with wired connections you have to worry about keeping cables in check. In a report by Cellular News, details are given of research into a new method of network connectivity, using LED lighting. The research is being conducted by Boston University's College of Engineering.

The system would work by using LED lights instead of incandescant ones, and these lights would flash on/off, be picked up by a receiver and translated back into the data being sent or received. The lights would flash so fast that it wouldn't be picked up by the human eye. Line of sight between the LED and the receiver would have to be maintained, and data transfer speeds would initially be around 1 to 10 megabit per second.

LED Lighting to replace WI-Fi?

BU Engineering Professor Thomas Little explained:

Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires, this could be done with an LED-based communications network that also provides light - all over existing power lines with low power consumption, high reliability and no electromagnetic interference. Ultimately, the system is expected to be applicable from existing illumination devices, like swapping light bulbs for LEDs.

This method of data transfer would offer increased security over wireless networks, as visible light cannot penetrate opaque surfaces like walls, unlike wireless, which would reduce the likelihood of eavesdropping. As LED lights consume less power than traditional incandescant lighting, energy savings could be had too.

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