O2 pilots 5G-transmitting lightbulbs in Slough
LED light bulbs will be used to provide high-speed wireless connectivity in a brand new network trial unveiled by mobile operator O2 at its HQ in Slough.
This is a result of a partnership with pureLiFi, a startup which has developed technology that uses LED lights to send large amounts of data, while appearing as white light to the human eye.
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 9 LiFi-enabled LED light bulbs, in the ‘Explore Room’ of its Slough HQ.
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.
The LiFi system has the potential to serve as a serious contender to Wi-Fi, 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.
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. LiFi is capable of unlocking unprecedented and much-needed data and bandwidth.”
Derek McManus, O2’s chief operating officer, said: “Our LiFi trial shows how you can deliver high-speed connectivity to customers in new ways and is another example of how we’re futureproofing our network as we pave the way for 5G in the UK.”