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We first noted it back in 2008: the possibility of using LED light bulbs for secure and directional wireless internet access. Well, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute is claiming that speedy data rates of up 3Gbps have are indeed feasible. The boost comes from its latest enhancements, allowing the 180Mhz frequency to be used over the usual 30MHz, which apparently leaves extra room for moving data. If you'll recall, that's a significant leap over the 800Mbps top speed it achieved back in 2011 mixing various light colors. While this IR-like take on wireless internet access gains steam, remember that it's more likely to be used in areas where WiFi radios cause interruptions (hospitals, trade shows like CES, etc.) -- rather than a strip of mini spot lights from IKEA for the casa. (We can dream, can't we?) FHHI plans to show off the new gear at FOE '13, but for now you'll find the full press release after the break.

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New broadband components for visible light communication

High-Speed Internet from the Ceiling Lamp

In visible light communication, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI has set a further milestone on the way to high- speed internet from the ceiling lamp. Development of novel components for data transmission over LEDs means that significantly higher bandwidth can now be used in real-time with data throughput rates of up to 3 Gbit/s being reached in laboratory experiments. The new components will be presented at FOE 2013.

The technology developed by HHI makes it possible to use standard off-the-shelf LED room lights for data transmission. Data rates of up to 800 Mbit/s were reached by this optical WLAN under laboratory conditions, while a complete real-time system exhibited at trade fairs reached data throughput of 500 Mbit/s. The newly developed patent protected components have now achieved a transmission rate in laboratory experiments of over 1 Gbit/s per single light frequency. As off-the-shelf LEDs mainly use three light frequencies or light colors, speeds of up to 3 Gbit/s are feasible.

Thus far LEDs could only be used with a bandwidth of around 30 MHz, yet the new technical components enable exploitation of a much higher bandwidth of up to 180 MHz. As the higher frequency bands are also used for transmission, this significantly boosts the data throughput rate. Development of the components as modules makes them suitable for customized integration in technology developments such as Car-to-X communication. But visible light communication also has a broad array of other possible applications ranging from areas like hospital operating theatres where safety is at a premium to places like trade shows and factory halls where radio communication is problematic.