Chinese scientists transmit internet data using LEDs
The Researchers are from Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The technology uses a one-watt LED embedded within a microchip. The LED blinks millions of times per second and sends a binary signal: blinking on for one and off for zero.
The scientists call the technology LiFi, which they see as an alternative to WiFi, a technology that uses radio frequency to transmit internet data.
The technique was initially developed by professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh in the UK.
LiFi can reach data transmission rates as fast as 150 megabits per second, according to Chi Nan, an information technology professor at Shanghai Fudan University. This is faster than the 802.11g WiFi standard, which has extended throughput up to 54 megabits per second. In addition, Chi claimed the components to make LiFi equipment is cheaper.
But one drawback is LiFi relies on line of sight between transmitter and receiver, meaning it can compliment WiFi networks but not replace them where line of sight transmission is not possible.
LiFi promoters hope to replace WiFi in places where radio communication is limited, or where radio signals could interfere with other equipment, such as airline and hospital gear.