We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Strathclyde University develops LED Li-Fi internet connections

An array of micron-sized LEDs could communicate one million times as much information as a standard LED

University of Strathclyde is developing technology which could see tiny LED lights delivering "WiFi-like" internet connections.

The university is promoting its "Li-Fi" system which sees internet connections supported by visible light rather than via the radio waves and microwaves currently in use.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is funding a consortium of UK universities, led by Strathclyde, to develop the technology.

Professor Martin Dawson, of Strathclyde, who is leading the four-year project, said: "Imagine an LED array beside a motorway helping to light the road, displaying the latest traffic updates and transmitting internet information wirelessly to passengers' laptops, netbooks and smartphones.

"This is the kind of extraordinary, energy-saving parallelism that we believe our pioneering technology could deliver."The universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and St Andrews are all working with Strathclyde on the project, said Dawson.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) flicker on and off thousands of times a second. By altering the length of the flickers, said Dawson, it is possible to send digital information to specially-adapted PCs and other electronic devices, making Li-Fi the "digital equivalent of Morse Code", he said.

The EPSRC-funded team is developing tiny, micron-sized LEDs. These LEDs are able to flicker on and off 1,000 times quicker than larger LEDs, meaning they can transmit data more quickly.

Dawson said 1,000 micron-sized LEDs would fit into the space occupied by a single larger 1mm-squared LED, with each of these tiny LEDs acting as a separate communication channel.

A 1mm-squared sized array of micron-sized LEDs could therefore communicate "1,000 x 1,000" - in other words, one million times as much information as one 1mm-squared LED.


IDG UK Sites

Best iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 deals: Find the best contract for your new iPad

IDG UK Sites

The iPhone is doomed. Doomed to be marginally less successful than a very successful thing.

IDG UK Sites

How to prototype native mobile apps without writing code

IDG UK Sites

How to prepare for and update to OS X Yosemite: Get your Mac ready to download & install Apple's...