By Chris Mills
Much as Wi-Fi is a marvel of modern technology, it also still really stinks. Two decades of development in, and we still can’t consistently beam Netflix across a house in a consistent fashion. The standard for Wi-Fi is improving, sure, but one group of researchers thinks it should be replaced altogether.
A PhD student in the Netherlands has come up with the concept to use infrared light for data transmission. The concept makes sense in physics terms, as light is more capable of transmitting high-speed data than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio waves currently used.
Light has been posited before as a replacement for Wi-Fi, but visible light rather than infra-red. That had slower speeds, more interference, and a requirement to keep your lights turned on all the time. Infrared antenna radiate light at different angles, which means you’ll get coverage in more rooms (although, it also means you need an antenna in each room).
There are still obvious flaws, mostly to do with wiring each room in a house up for an antenna, but as a compliment for Wi-Fi, it would make sense. An infrared transmitter that powers your laptop and game console, and then a Wi-Fi network for more portable devices with less data needs would make sense.