Li-Fi System From Oxford University To Deliver 100 Gbps Speed
We all have been hearing about catching signals through light, easily coined as Li-Fi technology that many companies have been working on. So far, researchers have been able to bring the data to our homes through the Internet, but not to the devices.
Oxford University is now working to extend the strength of the signal just so it can reach your computer, TV or smartphone. The prestigious institution is now building a system that takes light from the fiber, amplifies it, and delivers it across the room at more than 100 Gbps straight to your device. The light is converted into an electric signal in the device.
However, this indoor optical wireless technology would not completely replace Wi-Fi, according to Ariel Gomez, a Ph.D. student in Photonics at Oxford University, who has explained the system in detail in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters. Still, this system is very promising as it has a potential to allow data rates of 3 Tbps and even above, opening doors to multiple uses that were considered impossible before.
Wi-Fi, on the other hand, only touches a maximum of 7 Gbps. Moreover, with light there will be no restriction of limited set of radio frequencies.
“If you’re in the optical window, you have virtually unlimited bandwidth and unlicensed spectrum,” Gomez says.
To achieve such blissful features, they will have to install a base station on the ceiling of the room to project the light towards the device, and to receive the data emitted by the device to the Internet.
It seems practical and easy in theory, but is just as tricky. The main hurdle the researchers have to overcome is of getting the light beam where it is needed exactly.
An optical fiber helps as a target, which is only 8 or 9 micrometers in diameter. So the team, which also included researchers from University College, London, obtained this by using a holographic beam which maneuvered at both the transmitter and receiver ends. They use a collection of liquid crystals which create a diffraction grating that reflects the light in the desired direction.
The system is similar to that used in projectors, says Dominic O’Brien, a photonics engineer at Oxford.
Furthermore, the system requires a direct line of sight, where the receiver must be in a fixed position. This is then followed by development of a tracking and location system so that the user can place a laptop at any random spot on a table and let the system find it and create a link.
“The world of communications is a world where everybody always wants more bandwidth,” O’Brien says.