German firm ready to put on high-speed broadband light show

A German firm, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), claims it can squeeze data throughput rates of up to 3 Gbps from "off the shelf LED room lights," offering up a new medium for delivering broadband in places where radio transmissions can be problematic.

In a press release, HHI pointed to "[d]evelopment of novel components for data transmission over LEDs" as the reason why "significantly higher bandwidth can now be used in real-time." The company said it would present the new components starting today at Fiber Optics Expo (FOE) 2013.

While still in the laboratory phase, the new technology shows promise in the emerging field of using light to transmit data.

"Data rates of up to 800 Mbps were reached by this optical WLAN under laboratory conditions, while a complete real-time system exhibited at trade fairs reached data throughput of 500 Mbps," the company's press release said.

And that's just the start. Newly patented components "have now achieved a transmission rate in laboratory experiments of over 1 Gbps per single light frequency" which means off-the-shelf LEDs, which use three light frequencies, can achieve 3 Gbps, the company said.

The company, which develops mobile and fixed communications networks and multimedia systems, suggested the new LED components will have use in car-to-X communication as well as hospital operating theaters "where safety is at a premium," trade shows and factory halls where radio communications are problematic at best.

All together, the new development "represents a major step forward towards optical high-speed WLAN," the company concluded.

For more:
- HHI issued this press release

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