For all of us who have ever had problems with our in-home wireless, researchers at Penn State may have found an answer -- Visible Light Communication.
The researchers figured out a way to transfer data into light and then bounce it off of walls at speeds of 1Gb/sec. So far they've only tested infrared light, but the system will also work with visible light and ultraviolet light. "Sending information via light waves either in physical light guides or wirelessly is not new," Penn State Live wrote about the project. "But existing wireless systems either require direct line of sight or are diffused and have low signal strength. The researchers chose to take a different approach using multi-element transmitters and multi-branch optical receivers in a quasi-diffuse configuration."
The project uses laser diodes to convert the data into light, and photo diodes to convert the light back into data at the other end. The best thing about this system is that line of sight is not required -- the light will bounce off of walls and ceilings as long as they aren't painted black. Data access can be contained within one room (no more worries about stolen signals or data) and wired relays can be used to extend that access through the walls into other rooms.
Fast, reliable, and secure wireless that eliminates the dead zones in our apartment? That has to be a winning idea! Let's hope that Penn State can get this technology to market sooner rather than later.