Siemens this week announced it has reached a new record in wireless data transfer speeds, beating the previous speed by a factor of 2.5. Together with the Heinrich Hertz Institute, the company was able to achieve a speed of 500Mbps thanks to white LED light. The light-emitting diode used in the test was produced by Osram, a Siemens subsidiary, and transferred data over a distance of 16.4 feet. The Ostar LED is one of the brightest LEDs on the market.
The light is modulated at a frequency that cannot be detected by the human eye, with a photodetector receiver that converts the light signals into electrical pulses. The process is called Visible Light Communication (VLC) and can be used in the home to supplement traditional WLAN technology.
Benefits of VLC technology include security, as it is impossible to grab the data by a third, unauthorized party. It could also be used in hospitals or other medical institutions, where traditional methods can interfere with sensitive equipment, as well as on railway tracks to communicate between transit signals and trains or cars. The researchers also demonstrated a system that used five LEDs and was able to transfer data at speeds up to 100Mbps over longer distances.
The IEEE has been working since 2007 to standardize activities in this field and hopes to complete its work by 2010.