Project OMEGA – infrared for home networking?


Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — February 7, 2013 – Does infrared have the potential for home networking? – yes, suggests the findings of the European Union funded "hOME Gigabit Access" (OMEGA) project, which has created a system for higher broadband speeds that can connect multiple devices in the home.

Today, Wi-Fi is the home networking solution everyone uses, but it is unlikely to be able to meet future demands by itself. To ensure greater bandwidth, researchers on the OMEGA project have developed a network using a combination of power cables, radio signals and light.

Using visible and infrared light the researchers were able to transmit data at up to 280 Mbps over a distance of 10 m. The data was transferred in two directions between multiple devices, thus creating an infrared network. And what was a world first, the data was sent using LED ceiling lighting, increasingly common in many homes.

This technology could ensure that every office and household has enough bandwidth to connect a range of “smart” objects to each other like phones, cars and domestic appliances, according to an EC statement.

Combining the technology with, for example, radio transmission, could result in much higher broadband speeds for consumers. It could also have other advantages when used alone, as the technology, known as “visible light communication,”causes less radio interference because the signal is contained within one room. This would be particularly beneficial for use in environments where a radio transmission network is either not permitted or where it interferes with the functioning of some equipment.

The €19.13 million OMEGA project is run by researchers from companies, universities and research institutions in Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Industry is now ready to produce devices based on the standard, IEEE P1905.1, launched thanks to the OMEGA project, the statement said.