Dutch researchers have found a way to address the global problem of slow wi-fi; creating a network which could allow you to connect to the internet 100 times faster than is currently available.
Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a wireless network based on harmless infrared rays. The new infrared wi-fi system has the capacity to send video signals at a speed of 40 gigabytes per second/ray using terahertz rather than the traditional microwaves.
The new system could dramatically increase the speed of online streaming, as most wireless networks can only operate at a top speed of 5000 megabytes a second.
The wireless data in the new system comes from a few central “light antennas” which are able to very precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fiber.
The light antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles.
The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction.
Additional devices added are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity, subsequently, there is no longer any interference from a neighboring wi-fi network.
The research team expects the new wi-fi technology to be widely available in five years or more, and also expect the first devices to be connected to this new kind of wireless network will be high data consumers such as video monitors, laptops, or tablets.
This new technology could allow the more efficient transfer and download of large data files used by businesses throughout the world, due to the increased capacity achieved by the much larger frequencies harnessed by the terahertz waves.
The increased capacity and speed of the new network could also relieve the congestion faced by current wi-fi networks.
Project leader in creating the new network and Professor of Broadband Communication at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Ton Koonen, said the new ‘infrared Wi-Fi’ system had a number of benefits.
“The big benefits we see of our technique is that you offer unshared capacity to each individual user, so you get a guaranteed capacity,” he said.
“Next to that you only get a beam if you need the traffic, so we’re not illuminating the whole place where maybe a single user is there, that means it’s much more power-efficient. Another efficiency, another advantage, is that light doesn’t go through walls, so that means your communication is really confined to the particular room. Nobody can listen in from outside, so it offers you a lot of security.”
The research team at the Eindhoven University of Technology are seeking funding to achieve their aim of making the new wi-fi technology widely available within 5 years.