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10Gbps connections in homes and buildings from light

The technology comes from Brunel University in London. Here scientists have obtained funding to develop a proof-of-concept wireless network. The network will fuse LiFi (visible light communications) with mmWave (millimeter wave) technology. The LiFi will use visible light to transmit data.

Behind the development is Professor John Cosmas. According to the researcher, the technology would work, as the researchers have planned, by installing LiFi bulbs as replacements for standard LED types. These connect to a router via Ethernet cabling and pass data to and from devices via a LiFi receiver.

One aim will be to develop a LiFi technological standard. If successful, this could become part of a 5G standard. The aim of the research is to achieve 10Gbps connections in homes and buildings with a delay of less than a millisecond. Both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi transmit data over the electromagnetic spectrum. However, Wi-Fi uses very high and ultra-high frequency radio waves, Li-Fi uses visible light and this is considered to be more efficient and allow for faster speeds.

As reported by PC World, the hybrid LiFi network would add mmWave senders and receivers into light fittings. These devices could then communicate with the 5G radios found in smart devices contained within the home.

The first trial of the technology, which has been funded by a grant from the European Union Horizon 2020 fund, will be with a Chinese supermarket located along the Musée de la Carte à Jouer in Paris. A second trial will take place on the Madrid Underground, Spain.

The technology would have a number of cross-sector benefits. These include medicine, to make remote surgery possible (so that an expert surgeon in one part of the world could assist surgeon operating in another country); and businesses, in making working home easier everyone.

Further advantages include potential health benefits arising from lower power requirements in relation to data transmissions. This is based on concerns about cancer risks and wireless communication technology. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified mobile phones as devices that could ‘possibly’ cause cancer in humans; however, as research currently standard there is insufficient evidence for a clear conclusion to be reached.

In a separate development, Cisco is working on the use of LiFi switches on its routers.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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