Light is the new Wi-Fi

09 Dec 2008

Researchers at several universities in the US are taking the phrase 'lighting up a network' literally.

The Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, which is part of an $18.5 million, multi-year National Science Foundation grant awarded to Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of New Mexico, is working on 'optical communication technology that would make an LED light the equivalent of a Wi-Fi access point.'

The multi-year program will use low-power LEDs to create smart lighting that would provide Internet connections to multiple devices within a room, providing data speeds anywhere from 1 Mbps to 10 Mbps. Besides replacing the wireless network, it would also replace most conventional lighting devices and serve the dual purpose of lighting up a room and a network.
Rensselaer and UNM are tasked with creating novel devices and system applications ad materials to interface with the network. BU will focus on developing computer networking capabilities and the optical technology for the network's backbone.

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