What is Li-Fi?
Li-Fi or Light Fidelity is a bidirectional, high speed and fully networked wireless communication technology similar to Wi-Fi but it’s 100x more faster than a Wi-Fi. It can transfer data between devices at 1 Gbps and in lab tests, the fastest recorded speed was 224 Gbps. The tests were carried out at an Estonian company called Velmenni.
Who’s behind Li-Fi?
Professor Harald Haas, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, coined the term Li-Fi and first introduced the technology at the TED conference in Edinburgh back in 2011.
Haas then founded a company pureLiFi in 2012, where its pioneering research into visible light communication has been in development since 2008 as part of the renowned D-Light project. pureLi-Fi aims to bring this cutting-edge technology to market. Haas serves the company as chief scientific officer and he’s been joined by a number of “visible light communication engineers.” Their vision statement: “To be the world leader in Visible Light Communications technology enabling ubiquitous, high-speed, secure data networks wherever there is illumination.”
As he explains in his talk, an LED bulb is a semiconductor, an electronic device whose intensity can be modulated at very high speeds. A standard television remote control uses an infrared LED to create a simple, low-speed data stream (about 10,000 to 20,000 bits per second) which Haas points out, “not suitable for a YouTube video.” While Li-Fi devices transmit data in not only one stream, but thousands of data streams in parallel, at higher speeds.
Haas points out four problems which Wi-Fi has/makes and Li-Fi solves including:
- Capacity: Wi-Fi uses radio waves which has a very limited capacity while Li-Fi uses visible light which has a much greater capacity. Or we have 10,000 times more spectrum available to use compared to radio waves.
- Efficiency: Li-Fi is more efficient as it uses the same bulbs for transmitting data which are already used. Cutting the cost of extra energy. If you want to switch off the bulb? No use can’t but Yes you can dim it off!
- Availability: Light bulbs are available every where, in homes, workplaces, cars, smartphones, where ever you go which means they can be used for high-speed data transmission.
- Security: Wi-Fi can penetrate walls which is available to who ever is on the other side or in the range of Wi-Fi but light doesn’t penetrate walls and so data can transfer is more secure. Light is available only to users in the limited light range.
Although Li-Fi is nascent and limited now as it works indoors only but Haas seems committed to his vision of substituting radio waves as a source of data transmission by visible light which is more secure, reliable, high speed.