Infrared Light Could Someday Deliver Super-Fast Wi-Fi

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    Here comes another magical Wi-Fi solution that may never see the light of day. A system based on infrared light is being proposed that would provide speeds over 40 times faster than 802.11ac. Aside from the performance increase, the idea is pretty great because there would be no interference, as light rays could be targeted toward devices. You would need an antenna in every room, though, since infrared cannot penetrate walls.

    …a PhD student in the Netherlands has come up with a potentially groundbreaking idea: using infrared rays to carry wireless data to your laptop or smartphone. The capacity of the proposed system is massive, with more than 40 gigabits per second possible per light ray. Contrast that with current 802.11ac, which can transmit up to 1 gigabit per second. This new infrared system can target multiple devices at once, is cheap to set up and doesn't have any issue with radio interference, unlike traditional WiFi. The research team has only tested download speeds and only across short distances, but the potential is clear.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  2. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

    Oct 31, 2004
    Line of sight problems. Your phone can't receive data in your pocket is one example. If too many people gather around your laptop it loses connection. you would have to pollute the ceiling with IR transceivers and it wouldn't guarantee something wouldn't screw it up.

    A place of work with a cube farm probably would be the best application you can put a transceiver every cube but would need a plug.
  3. maddude

    maddude 2[H]4U

    Sep 6, 2006
    I've been reading about this type of technology for nearly 10 years it seems. One of the benefits brought up is usually security, as the signal doesn't "leave" the space like radio waves. I could see it being useful in limited scenarios but not really catching on for general use.
  4. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Jul 12, 2007
    That's what they want to do. Every lightbulb in your house would be a transmitter.
  5. Ultima99

    Ultima99 [H]ardness Supreme

    Jul 31, 2004
    Yes potentially 40 times faster than AC, great! Now when can we get wired networking (at a reasonable price) that isn't being eclipsed by all these potential next gen wireless standards?
  6. Ducman69

    Ducman69 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Jul 12, 2007
    Fiber yo, but its pricey. I just need to upgrade to 10GbE.
    dj_spanmaster likes this.
  7. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Aug 16, 2004
    I paid $25 a piece for 6x 10Gb dual port fiber cards with transceivers.

    The fiber cables were about $5 a piece.

    That is cheaper then even a good single port 1Gb card.

    Right now I just have 2 computers hooked up with a secondary LAN.

    I could daisychain these with more computers (to my servers) when I start using them.

    Seeing a large file transfer max out SATA SSD speeds is pretty sweet.
    DocSavage, dj_spanmaster and Ducman69 like this.
  8. dgingeri

    dgingeri 2[H]4U

    Dec 5, 2004
    There's a big problem it seems nobody wants to think about: bugs. Many bugs are attracted to infrared light. Such devices would attract bugs in pretty large numbers. It could even confuse many types of bugs and cause issues with their functioning to the point of having issues like we have with bees today.
    Chupachup likes this.
  9. gxp500

    gxp500 Gawd

    Mar 4, 2015
  10. dj_spanmaster

    dj_spanmaster Limp Gawd

    Aug 1, 2004
    This sounds pretty ideal for a primary network transmission method, with current WiFi standards being a solid secondary. Think about it this way: When do you really want your network to move data quickly? For me, it's usually when I'm holding the thing in my hands, waiting for [thing] to load its data.
  11. Chupachup

    Chupachup Limp Gawd

    Jan 12, 2014

    It's no doubt a sweet concept! Buuuut...
    • Cheap? I don't think so, not when you add up all the hardware and wiring required throughout your home- one or more antennas in each room plus power and fiber runs to each installation point and a fiber switch to connect it all. :greedy::greedy::greedy:
    • No issue with radio interference? Only with regard to downloads. If you currently have interference issues, then your uploading experience will still be a mess. And what of light interference occurring as sunlight penetrates your lair or you turn on a fluorescent light in the area?
    • 42.8Gb/s at 2.5m (8ft) sounds great and yet no mention of diminishing flow rate at greater distances in a "normal" setting? I suppose any deficiency would be corrected by installing more antennas in the area. :greedy:
    • No indication of the conditions for their test environment? Lab, living room or possibly a black box/faraday cage?
    As Dgingeri notes, infrared can attract insects. Although, running at 1500nm, the current phase of this project operates outside the range readily detected by insects (400nm~1000nm). So, the chance of bugs being attracted by your body heat or the heat of your laptop would most likely be greater than that of the IR units themselves.

    Needless to say, I see this as a huge fail until they prove the system can function in a normal home/business environment where fluorescent lighting is prevalent and natural sunlight flows into rooms, as well as, maintaining a price point that everyone can afford. There's also the fact IR-WIFI won't help you much outside the home when your provider can't match the bandwidth you're now capable of handling- a problem most of us already experience.

    Installation Example: Using line-of sight(LOS) and the proven ~2.5m range* as a basis- I figure I'll be needing between 24 and 31 antennas installed depending on whether I use three or four in each room of the house. If I can get a bulk order discount of $25/ea., I'm looking at spending $600-$800 on those alone. Now, add on the fiber switch with the rest and even before calling an electrician, we are light years beyond "cheap".

    Cost ultimately dooms the utility of having this network at home under what is and will be the norm five years and more into the future, as providers are still trying to upgrade their infrastructure to homes and small businesses in support of 100Mb/s download speeds on shared copper. Before that infrastructure begins the next wave of change, most of us will be too old or too dead to care.:oldman::dead:

    And OMG, don't get me thinking of what my mother, wife and daughter, would say about the aesthetics of having so many antennas protruding from the ceilings in each room:banghead:

    Not gonna get excited and save myself the hassle by passing on this and plan on either dragging a wire around the house or simply staying with the more proven, yet slower, radio based WIFI;)

    *Transmission range may be a moot point in helping reduce number of antennas required as LOS is really the priority.
  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

    Mar 4, 2013
    This might work well in large open spaces with lots of people like convention centers and sports stadiums. Such places already have a large number of light fixtures that could easily house IR transceivers. Don't see it replacing the simple home setup where one WAP device can often handle the entire house and yard.
    Chupachup likes this.
  13. Ehren8879

    Ehren8879 Gots the Vaporwares

    Sep 24, 2004
    How do the clients talk back? IR bulbs can easily paint a room, but clients would essentially be a single omnidirectional transmitter in that space. Full disclosure, i didnt read the article
  14. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your deserve it.

    Oct 29, 2000
    Awesome. What I really want is a wireless tech that can't pass through walls...
  15. sleepeeg3

    sleepeeg3 [H]ardness Supreme

    Mar 4, 2004
    I sense sarcasm... I agree with said sarcasm.
  16. RIUM+

    RIUM+ [H]Lite

    Jun 18, 2004
    Am I the only one around here who remembers the IR link on the old Gameboys? Picky as all hell to get working. And even my remote for my TV doesn't always work if I don't hold it at the right angle. No mention on the reliability of this new system in everyday use scenarios... I'm skeptical.
  17. Methadras

    Methadras [H]ardness Supreme

    Dec 19, 2000
    "using infrared rays"

    Who the fuck writes this shit?