Feeds

Wireless-data LED lamps to replace lightbulbs - US profs

'The era of hyperconnectivity is upon us'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US government is funding research into using LED lighting as data network access points. Room or street lamps would link with devices using visible light, carrying data beyond over existing power lines.

"This is a unique opportunity to create a transcendent technology that not only enables energy-efficient lighting, but also creates the next generation of secure wireless communications," said Prof Thomas Little of Boston Uni.

"As we switch from incandescent and compact florescent lighting to LEDs in the coming years, we can simultaneously build a faster and more secure communications infrastructure at a modest cost along with new and unexpected applications."

The initiative is known as the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Centre, and will be carried forward at Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of New Mexico. The US National Science Foundation is providing $18.5m in funding.

Little and his colleagues envisage affordable devices which would replace existing lamps and light fittings, usually requiring only the already-present power lines for backhaul. Devices equipped with visible-light ports not unlike IrDA kit would have a data connection whenever such a lamp was in line of sight.

The data would be transmitted by the same LEDs which provided white-light illumination, flickering like tremendously fast signal lamps. The data flicker would be imperceptible to humans.

As visible light doesn't penetrate walls or travel round corners, the developers say that the system would be more secure than present-day WiFi, and would avoid the problem of multiple radio networks competing for bandwidth. Furthermore, the much higher frequency of visible light compared to radio waves would mean there was much more wireless bandwidth to use.

Meanwhile, the lighting function of the LED access devices would also save useful amounts of power for users, being much more efficient than existing filament or even fluorescent bulbs and tubes. The Smart Lighting advocates reckon that their kit could become truly ubiquitous, present in almost every place there is a light today - on cars and in streets as well as inside buildings.

"The era of hyperconnectivity is upon us," commented Inder Monga, network-research chief at Nortel.

"This visible light-based networking ... with its energy efficient qualities, privacy and its ubiquitous nature is very exciting."

There's more on Smart Lighting courtesy of Boston U here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.