5Gbit/sec line-of-sight infrared connection supports fast data sharing

November 20, 2013 // By Julien Happich
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS have developed a new data link that uses infrared light as a transmission medium, reaching data rates up to 5 gigabits per second as an alternative to the common USB 3.0 standard.

The developer of a new communication module, Dr. Frank Deicke says that by using infrared light as a wireless transmission medium, signal processing can be up to 100-times faster than current wireless solutions because the information does not have to be specially coded for radio transmission beforehand. What’s more, the bit error rates in the optical link are exceptionally low so that net data rates of up to 95% of what is theoretically possible can be achieved; the percentage for WLAN is much, much lower, explains Deicke.

"The path via light needs only 15% of the energy per byte – something that particularly benefits mobile, battery-operated devices such as mobile phones or digital cameras", commented Deicke, with the only requirement being the "Line-of-Sight" connection, just like an infrared remote control (or the now-virtually-obsolete IRDA specification).

The possible fields of use of the newly developed infrared communication modules are very diverse and range from the consumer sector through to industrial applications. It can be used wherever large amounts of data have to be transmitted from one terminal device to another as quickly as possible - for example in safety and process control or medical technology. The Fraunhofer IPMS offers an evaluation kit for interested parties to assess the performance of such an optical data transmission.

Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS;  www.ipms.fraunhofer.de