LiFi delivers 224Gbps internet connection

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LiFi delivers 224Gbps internet connection

If you're finding your 100Gbit/sec broadband a bit slow, researchers at the University of Oxford could have the answer, with a technological breakthrough that can deliver 224Gbit/sec bi-directional connectivity - through your lightbulb.

Dubbed LiFi (light fidelity), the technology uses visible light (primarily) produced by LEDs to transmit data to connected devices, particularly computers.

LiFi breakthrough delivers 224Gbits/sec internet connection

LiFi has been under development since 2011, but these breakthrough speeds are a significant increase on the 3Gbit/sec speeds achieved in February 2013.

As well as the massive increase in speed, the researchers believe this is the first time room-scale has been achieved, with links operating over 60 degree and 30 degree fields-of-view (FOV) angles.

The 224Gbit/sec speeds would, theoretically, allow you to download 18 1.5GB movies in a second. We say theoretically, because your hard drive wouldn't be able to write fast enough to keep up - the fastest commercially available drive PC Pro has seen can write at 1GB/sec, so you'd need a data centre to handle 27GB/sec.

LiFi limitations

While the researchers describe this as "room scale" LiFi coverage, the technology has one very important limitation - the device has to be in direct "view" of the signal-emitting lights.

This means that, while devices could theoretically achieve connection speeds of 244Gbits/sec, you would need a specialised LED bulb in every room, as the signal can't travel through solid objects, including walls. 

According to the LiFi Consortium, which seeks to promote the investigation and use of LiFi, this is "an advantage in relation to security issues", but it also means that, for now, only desktop computers - or laptops that don't get moved around - would be able to use LiFi.

Nevertheless, this is a huge breakthrough in the technology and, to a great extent, putting LEDs in all rooms and ensuring there's full coverage of the room could mitigate this problem.

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Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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