Penn State's optical wireless tech does gigabit, bounces off walls
Tim Stevens|February 4, 2010 7:01 AM
WiFi, but it's far from perfect. Speed depends greatly on conditions, magnetic waves don't always play nicely with sensitive equipment, and the ability for someone to drive by and steal your precious infos is always disconcerting. Researchers at Penn State have what they believe is a better solution: light. The team uses laser diodes to convert data signals to light, then photo diodes on the other end to convert it back to data, a system that (unlike others we've seen) doesn't require direct line of sight as the light will bounce off of walls -- except those painted black (sorry goths). Data access could easily be constrained within a single room or, if it was needed elsewhere, wired relays could bring it through walls. Speeds at this point are already at the 1Gb/sec range, twice what Siemens was able to manage a few weeks ago, and enough for wireless transmission of high-definition video. Someday your Wiimote and remote might not be the only things beaming back at ya in the living room.
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