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Another optical wireless experiment shows us that LEDs will beam your future downloads

Tim Stevens

Beaming data with light is hardly a new thing, but lately we've seen a number of attempts at making it rather more usable and, more interesting, rather more speedy. We're starting to get the feeling that those maybe/maybe not dangerous microwave-based systems have had their days numbered. The latest to beam bits with blinkenlights is a team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications in Germany, which will be showing its stuff at the always happenin' Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition in two weeks. The team was able to use a commercial LED and get an impressive 230Mb/s transfer rate, which doesn't compare to the gigabit Penn State managed or 500mb/s Siemens pulled off, but those were done using rather more specialized hardware (like the Siemens rig pictured above). It's interesting stuff, and we're looking forward to see the commercial applications for this tech, but we do have one nagging question: what if you want to surf in the dark?

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