LED LIGHTING is being used to provide high-speed wireless connectivity in a network trial unveiled by mobile operator O2 at its headquarters in Slough, UK.
The cutting-edge trial uses Li-Fi (or lighting fidelity, a version of Wi-Fi using visible light to transmit data) and is being conducted in partnership with Scottish technology start-up pureLiFi.
The move is the latest in a series of O2 network trials as it paves the way for its 5G launch in the UK.
As part of the trial, O2 has installed pureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system, comprising of nine LiFi-enabled LED lights, in the Explore Room of its Slough facility so that it can be examined by engineers. The system enables data to be transmitted from a LED light bulb and back at high speeds through adjustments in the bulb’s brightness. The result is a high-speed, bi-directional and fully networked wireless communication of data.
O2 says that the LiFi system has the potential to serve as a serious contender to WiFi, which uses radio frequencies. Its reliance on the visible light spectrum aims to enable safer, more reliable and more secure wireless data communication than WiFi. It also has the potential to reduce infrastructure complexity and energy consumption.
Derek McManus, O2’s chief operations officer, told Lux: ‘At O2 we’re committed to building the best network possible for our customers, and a huge part of that is making sure we’re ahead of the pack in testing the latest technology.
‘Our LiFi trial shows how you can deliver high-speed connectivity to customers in new ways and is another example of how we’re future-proofing our network as we pave the way for 5G in the UK.’
Alistair Banham, CEO of pureLiFi, said: ‘With the proliferation of internet-of-things devices and continued growth in mobile users, the demand for spectrum is under increasing pressure.
Li-Fi is capable of unlocking unprecedented and much-needed data and bandwidth, and we are delighted that O2 has chosen to partner with pureLiFi to explore this tremendous potential. O2 is at the forefront of championing technologies to provide real solutions for 5G and beyond, and we look forward to working with them towards our common goal.’
- Learn more about Li-Fi at the inaugural Property Technology Conference taking place co-located with the LuxLive 2018 exhibition. Both events take place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018 at ExCeL London. See the full programme HERE.
Main picture: Georgina Coupe, Crown Copyright 2016