Hey Newsgroups, ready for some really fast speeds? A research project conducted by Siemens, together with the Heinrich Hertz Institute, has recently broken all records for wirelessly transmitting data. By making use of white LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of radio waves, researchers have been able to transmit data at 500Mbps. The light-emitting diode used in the test was produced by Osram – a Siemens subsidiary – who transferred data over a distance of 16.4 feet (5 meters).
Researchers in Munich collaborated with researchers from the Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin to achieve the new record. In the wireless technique, data are directly transferred by modulating, via the power supply, the amount of light emitted by the LED. The researchers could successfully transmit data over a distance of up to five meters at 500 Mbps; or, by combining five LEDs; they could transfer data over longer distances at rates of about 100 Mbps. The previous record was 200 MBPS.
The researchers used Ostar LEDs and lights that are modulated at a frequency that enables high-speed data transfers and is one of the brightest LEDs on the market. The changes in brightness due to modulation are indictable to the human eye. A photo detector converts the light signals it receives into electrical pulses on the other end. Siemens refers to this method of transmitting data as VLC (Visible Light Communication), and the company claims that it could be put to use in numerous ways. It could be used to help boost the performance of wireless networks and sustained connections to networks like USENET.
While light data transmission sounds less convenient than RF, there are many instances, like hospitals, when you don’t want extra radio frequencies floating around. Other applications suggested are in transportation, where LED stoplights can transmit information to trains and cars, for example. Siemens mentions that they combined five LEDs to transfer data over “longer distances” at rates up to 100Mbit/s, but didn’t mention exactly how long these distances were. Also, there was no mention as to how other light sources might affect the data transfer, or how much distance negatively affected the data speed.
The press release from the company states, “Increasingly, wireless networks are compromised by the fact that in many buildings the three independent WLAN frequency bands are multiply occupied, which leads to collisions among the data packets. In a situation like this, visible light, as a currently unused and license-free medium, offers a suitable alternative. A further advantage is that this form of data transfer is impervious to interception. Only the photo detector that is positioned directly within the light cone is able receive the data. In other words, it is impossible to ‘tap’ the data transported in the light beam.” The tests were conducted in Berlin by Siemens in conjunction with the Heinrich Hertz Institute.
Could it be that soon you’ll be seeing 500 MBPS offers from your ISP and Usenet Access Provider? Probably not for the next few years. But steps from Siemens and the like are taking it one more step forward to reality. Coincidentally, NewsDemon.com Newsgroups has hit a 500 mark of its own; breaking through the 500 day retention mark, NewsDemon.com Newsgroups is one day away from hitting a new 510 days of binary retention and growing.