Residents on the island of Graemsay, an island off the Orkney mainland, Scotland, are now using a LiFi network to access the internet instead of their slow and congestion prone fixed line copper network, thanks to the 5G RuralFirst rural connectivity testbed.
Prior to the trial, which began in June, the island’s residents often saw speeds of below 2Mbps, but the LiFi network can consistently deliver speeds that are four times higher.
The network has both outdoor and indoor components – the outdoor system uses eye-safe infrared lasers for data transmission and the data is received and decoded by solar panels. Graemsay’s lighthouse serves as a communications hub, connecting each property with a dedicated outdoor LiFi link as a last mile solution. The indoor component consists of USB dongles that process tiny variations in the light coming from LEDs in the ceiling (through which the data from the outdoor network is transmitted to end user devices).
The trial will continue for the duration of the 5G RuralFirst project and was developed by The University of Edinburgh and pureLiFi Ltd. with support from Orkney Council, CloudNet IT Solutions and national bodies such as the Northern Lighthouse Board and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through the 5G RuralFirst project.
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