Slush 2015 - Let There Be Light! … That’s Also WiFi?

'Wait? Did I read that right', you’re thinking? Well, yes you did. Deepak Solanki and his team from New Delhi, India, run Velmenni, a startup that has found a way of sending data using visible light, at up to 1GB per second. 

Deepak Solanki
Deepak Solanki. Photo: Slush

Speaking on the Silver Stage at Slush 2015, for Slush 100 Startups, he introduces the concept:

“We are working on a new wireless technology where we are sending data through visible light, which means we want to turn the lightbulbs into a WiFi hotspots with 100 times faster speed than current WiFi. If you want to download a high-definition video, you click on it and it’ll be downloaded in two seconds, light has a much wider spectrum.”

As a result of coming from a hugely overcrowded city, with its cellular mobile network creaking under the weight of 15 million people - barely able to cope, they have searched for and found this groundbreaking solution.

Traditional WiFi suffers from a range of unhelpful quirks, crowded areas often causes serious problems for networks. Solanki explains: “We cannot use it in the aviation industry, we cannot use it in medical healthcare, and it can't be used in a noisy environment.” The latter a fact that not many people are aware of.

The disruptive nature of their project is evident, and raises the question of whether there may be some parties for whom their discovery is extremely inconvenient, triggering a reaction akin to the discovery of the ability to broadcast electricity, by Nikola Tesla, which led to his arrest.

“Light is freely available, we use light everyday. There is no need to license a spectrum (like traditional radio networks). And at every point of time [or part of the room] you will have the same signal strength,” sings Solanki, with an air of pride.

Deepak Solanki
Deepak Solanki. Photo: Slush

Currently in the testing stage, they have managed to send 10Mbps over a 30 metre space and have plans to implement internet access in a smartphone using the same methods, by December 2015. To send data up to a mile or more, a system of multiple links is required at present.

A significant past achievement of the team is being resposible for the renovation of the entire traffic light system in their university city of New Delhi.