back to article Blinking internets, Batman! O2 trials 5G over lightbulbs

Telefonica’s O2 has confirmed that it is experimenting with transmitting high speed data using lightbulbs, the brainchild of an Edinburgh University professor Harald Haas. Transmitting data over the visible part of the spectrum, VLC (pdf), has one obvious advantage over using the congested RF spectrum. The IEEE began examining …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Disney put a TCP/IP stack in a light bulb three years ago, so you can expect toys and other merchandise to be data-enabled, using light.

    Don't many of those so called 'smart lightbulbs' have a TCP/IP stack and more in them already?

    But these devices will come and will naturally be very hackable so that the camera and microphone will remain on even if the bulb is turned off allowning every man and their dog to snoop on you.

    Having sex with the lights off won't be a private thing for much longer.

    Sigh. Just another bit of TAT to go on my list of things to never ever buy.

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: But...

      Having sex by candle light is much more fun and for the time being a private thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      It's still a private thing with the lights on. Unless you're inviting people in/leaving the curtains open.

    3. D@v3

      Re: Camera? Microphone??

      I must have missed the bit about putting microphones and cameras in lightbulbs.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    A true "light-bulb" moment


  3. Phil Kingston

    Hue had me at 5G light bulb

  4. Dave 15

    and you thought wifi was hackable

    wonderful to be morse coding things to anyone that wants to watch

    Come to think of it, is the idea really that new... after all shops blinked lights at each other in ww1

    And we had big fire beacons long before that

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three words, "line of sight", not a bright idea really.

    1. James 51

      Light does bounce off stuff but am guessing that diffuse light will have a lower bandwidth. I wonder if a really high speed camera from across a river or another nearby tall building would be able to 'read' the messages too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Away with you and your science debunking this idea.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LED traffic lamp project ...

    Not totally new - I was dumping diagnostic data optically out of LED traffic light lamps 20 years ago! We discussed using the system for providing drivers traffic information and selling recievers for people to mount inside their windscreens.

    I must read up on the hidden node solution though - that could be useful.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it should help speed up the deployment of 5G"

    How will data transmission using light bulbs speed up the deployment of a wireless wide area network?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      It will connect to your home broadband.

      Lots of obvious advantages for O2, they get to charge you for using your broadband supplied by someone else, for something that is probably going to be slower than wifi.

  8. Zmodem

    10 million lumen lighthouse mobile masts will never be a thing, and what happens when you have a brick wall, or the phone is in the pocket

  9. Giles C Silver badge

    Well a few years ago we installed a laser link between two buildings as a backup as it saved digging the car park up for a second trench.

    One night the primary fibre failed I think the gbic tripped for some reason.

    The next morning the building was offline, as I drove over with a colleague to try and sort this out we pulled up in the car park entrance and couldn’t see the buildings which were only 50m apart.

    We had freezing fog which refracted the beam to the point it couldn’t get a signal through.

    After that we ran a second fibre in...

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