innovation for industry
Luciom and Leti, a CEA Tech institute, have developed a new high-data-rate bidirectional Li-Fi modem as a radio-wave free alternative to Wi-Fi that won't saturate networks.
Li-Fi technology, around since the early 2000s,
uses the same LEDs that illuminate a room to transmit data. Here’s how it
works: bulbs are switched on and off at ultrahigh speeds, converting digital
information into optical signals. Until recently, Li-Fi could only be used for
low-speed applications; plus, data could only be transmitted in one direction,
from LED to user.
Now Leti and Luciom researchers have
combined their mastery of optics and digital communications to develop a new
Li-Fi modem better able to “modulate” LED light. Luciom was tasked with
improving the transceivers that convert the electrical and optical signals.
Additional research was then completed to improve the initial prototype. The
enhanced prototype has a photodiode that receives optical signals of between 1
MHz and 10 MHz—making them invisible to the human eye—and converts them into
digital signals, achieving speeds of up to 20 Mb/s. The modem connects to a
computer’s USB port and can also emit an infrared signal that is received by
the room’s LEDs.
The system is a more efficient alternative
to Wi-Fi, offering Wi-Fi-like speeds with the added benefits of enhanced
security and resistance to electromagnetic interference. Li-Fi will prove
especially useful in places like nuclear facilities, aircraft, hospitals, and
daycare centers, where RF waves would be harmful or disruptive.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.