However, researchers now claim to have achieved Wi-Fi at a lightning speed of 42.8Gbit per second which is 100 times faster.
The team from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands came up with a surprising solution to beat slow Wi-Fi: a wireless network based on harmless infrared rays.
The capacity is not only huge (more than 40Gbit/s per ray) but also there is no need to share since every device gets its own ray of light, said lead researcher Joanne Oh.
Oh managed a speed of 42.8Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.
For comparison, the average connection speed in the Netherlands is two thousand times less (17.6Mbit/s).
The Eindhoven system has so far used the light rays only to download; uploads are still done using radio signals.
The system conceived in Eindhoven is simple and, in principle, cheap to set up.
The wireless data comes from a few central ‘light antennas’, for instance mounted on the ceiling, which are able to precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.
Since there are no moving parts, it is maintenance-free and needs no power.
The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles.
If you walk around as a user and your smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna’s line of sight, then another light antenna takes over.
Moreover, there is no longer any interference from a neighbouring Wi-Fi network, the researchers noted.
The work of Oh is part of the wider ‘BROWSE’ project headed by professor of broadband communication technology Ton Koonen, and with funding from the European Research Council.