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Computer Technology

Imagine Wi-Fi 100 Times Faster — It’s Called LiFi

LiFi

Awesome Speed of LiFi Demonstrated

LiFi, or Light Fidelity, is a fast light-based wireless Internet technology. LiFi has attracted attention recently because an Estonian company called Velmenni conducted a real-world test where it was able to transfer data between devices at 1 Gbps, which is roughly 100 times faster than Wi-Fi in the real world. In lab tests, the fastest recorded speed was 224 Gbps!

 

 

LiFi is Super Fast, But What Exactly is It?

In 2011, Harald Hass, the creator of LiFi, who is a professor at the University of Edinburgh, unveiled Lifi to the public. He demonstrated that a single LED can transmit more data than a cellular tower.

LiFi has the potential to change how we use the Internet. It’s much faster than existing Wi-Fi, more energy-efficient, and potentially more secure. LiFi is dependent entirely on light, specifically LED bulbs, transferring data over light waves. By comparison, Wi-Fi uses radio waves.

Li-Fi works much like the infrared technology in TVs. It transmits data by using visible light communication, which sends data via flickering LED light fields at a speed between 400 and 800 terahertz in order to write and transmit things in a visual binary code. LiFi allows a lamp to have two functions, providing light and ensuring connectivity to a router.

LiFi Use Li-Fi uses light bulbs and LEDs for transmitting internet data. (Credit: Themeefy.com)


Benefits of LiFi Over Wi-Fi

  • No need to worry about congested radio waves and wireless dead zones.
  • Much, much faster than existing Wi-Fi speeds.
  • Anywhere that your LED bulb is casting light that your photodetector can “see” you’re ready to get Internet access.
  • More energy-friendly than Wi-Fi.
  • Might be able to use wireless battery charging and wireless Internet simultaneously if your photodetectors are solar cells.
  • Will likely be more secure than Wi-Fi, direct line-of-sight requirement.

Limitations of Li-Fi 

  • Can’t  be used in direct sunlight since photodetectors won’t be able to detect the modulating light waves.
  • Line-of-sight requirement could be a major bottleneck. Properly configured Wi-Fi can go through walls, LiFi won’t be able to do that.
  • Will require reinvestment in lighting and wiring infrastructure.
  • Will also require a new piece of technology, photosensors, in smartphones and laptops to “read” incoming light.

What’s the Future Hold for LiFi

Shown to the public only four years ago, Li-Fi is potentially a game-changer in wireless technology. Down the road, LiFi could augment existing Wi-Fi and other wireless connectivity. In some cases, LiFi could even replace Wi-Fi use. However, widespread LiFi implementation is likely years away.


LiFi:  What Is It?

 

Harald Hass, creator of LiFi, explains his vision

 

 

About Gary Reiner

thinking, reading, and writing about whatever's going on in the world...

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