WiFo boosts Wi-Fi bandwidth tenfold

Researchers at Oregon State University are developing technology which can boost the bandwidth Wi-Fi by up to ten times by using LED lights to transmit information. Called WiFO, it differs from Li-Fi – which uses LEDs as a primary method for transmitting and receiving information – by offering a hybrid system that seeks to overcome the issue of bandwidth being shared between several devices.

The prototype system uses LEDs that create an invisible cone of light of about one metre square where data can be transmitted. This could be in an area where Wi-Fi is used often and by several people and devices such as a coffee shop or airport terminal.

The system is switchable, however, so the existing Wi-Fi system makes up for the limited area served by the LEDs. The effect is that each device can use the full available bandwidth rather than a limited amount when other devices are nearby and using it.

Thinh Nguyen, the associate professor involved with the project, predicts devices in the future will be equipped with photodiode receivers to take advantage of this. The group has secured a provisional patent and are seeking companies to work with them to develop and license the technology.