What is Li-Fi?
Light Fidelity or Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system running wireless communications travelling at very high speeds.
Li-Fi uses common household LED (light emitting diodes) lightbulbs to enable data transfer, boasting speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second.
The term Li-Fi was coined by University of Edinburgh Professor Harald Haas during a TED Talk in 2011. Haas envisioned light bulbs that could act as wireless routers.
It’s a type of wireless internet technology has been developed that could provide a connection that’s 100 times faster than traditional WiFi.
The tech is called LiFi, and was tested by an Estonian start-up called Velmenni, who are currently trialling it in offices.
LiFi has proved capable of sending data at speeds of up to 1GBps, around 100 times faster than most current Wi-Fi connections.
At speeds like this, albums, high-definition films and even video games could be downloaded in a matter of seconds.
The speed is down to the way in which it transmits data — by using Visible Light Communication (VLC), data is sent between networks by LED lights that flicker incredibly fast.
The technology does have one major limitation — because it relies on visible light to work, it can’t pass through walls like this….
How it works ?
ok..I make it easy to understand… look it
Li-Fi and Wi-Fi are quite similar as both transmit data electromagnetically. However, Wi-Fi uses radio waves while Li-Fi runs on visible light.
As we now know, Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. This means that it accommodates a photo-detector to receive light signals and a signal processing element to convert the data into ‘stream-able’ content.
An LED lightbulb is a semi-conductor light source meaning that the constant current of electricity supplied to an LED lightbulb can be dipped and dimmed, up and down at extremely high speeds, without being visible to the human eye.
For example, data is fed into an LED light bulb (with signal processing technology), it then sends data (embedded in its beam) at rapid speeds to the photo-detector (photodiode).
The tiny changes in the rapid dimming of LED bulbs is then converted by the ‘receiver’ into electrical signal.
Li-Fi vs Wi-Fi
While some may think that Li-Fi with its 224 gigabits per second leaves Wi-Fi in the dust, Li-Fi’s exclusive use of visible light could halt a mass uptake.
Li-Fi signals cannot pass through walls, so in order to enjoy full connectivity, capable LED bulbs will need to be placed throughout the home. Not to mention, Li-Fi requires the lightbulb is on at all times to provide connectivity, meaning that the lights will need to be on during the day.
What’s more, where there is a lack of lightbulbs, there is a lack of Li-Fi internet so Li-Fi does take a hit when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks.
In an announcement yesterday, an extension of standard Wi-Fi is coming and it’s called Wi-Fi HaLow.
This new project claims to double the range of connectivity while using less power. Due to this, Wi-Fi HaLow is reportedly perfect for battery powered devices such as smartwatches, smartphones and lends itself to Internet of Things devices such as sensors and smart applications.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! Due to its impressive speeds, Li-Fi could make a huge impact on the internet of things too, with data transferred at much higher levels with even more devices able to connect to one another.
What’s more, due to its shorter range, Li-Fi is more secure than Wi-Fi and it’s reported that embedded light beams reflected off a surface could still achieve 70 megabits per second.
The future of Li-Fi
In November 2014, Li-Fi pioneers pureLiFi joined forces with French lighting company Lucibel aiming to bring out Li-Fi enables products, by the end of 2015.
pure LiFi already have two products on the market: Li-Flame Ceiling Unit to connect to an LED light fixture and Li-Flame Desktop Unit which connects to a device via USB, both aiming to provide light and connectivity in one device.
Plus, with faster connectivity and data transmission it’s an interesting space for businesses. The integration of internet of things devices and Li-Fi will provide a wealth of opportunities for retailers and other businesses alike. For example, shop owners could transmit data to multiple customers’ phones quickly, securely and remotely.
Li-Fi is reportedly being tested in Dubai, by UAE-based telecommunications provider, du and Zero1. Du claims to have successfully provided internet, audio and video streaming over a Li-Fi connection.
What’s more, reports suggest that Apple may build future iPhones with Li-Fi capabilities. A Twitter user found that within its iOS 9.1 code there were references to Li-Fi written as ‘LiFiCapability’ hinting that Apple may integrate Li-fi with iPhones in the future.
Whether or not Li-Fi will live up to its hype is yet to be decided.
Pros of Li-Fi
A LED bulb could be your wireless hotspot and you know you will found a light bulb everywhere like in a room, office, vehicle and other places.
The speed of data provide by these LEDs is far more than the WiFi speed. Researcher at Oxford University achieved a speed of 224 Gbps which is really, a lot. You can download a HD movie just in few seconds.
Apart from it a LiFi adapter could use IR rays to give us the internet connection.
Cons of Li-Fi
The main issue of LiFi is that it cannot pass data signals through a wall unlike WiFi does, because light cannot pass through a wall. Not only this, if anything blocking a LED bulb, this will also some interference in internet connection.
Other Light source
Other lighting sources could interfere your LiFi network especially when your are in an open room where light come from outside, then there are fair chance of interruption.
You will also not play you favorite game at nights by turning off the lights. Researcher says LiFi even works in IR rays but this will reduce the speed because high infra red rays effects our skin. So, researchers use low intensity IR ray.
Limitations of Li-Fi
The biggest challenge is that Li-Fi requires a straight line of light for it to transmit data. Moreover, how optimally Li-Fi will transfer data back to the transmitter is yet another cause of concern.
However no matter what! I believe very soon we all will find Li-Fi enabled environments around us doing all the good and great things in a much cost effective and more time friendly way.
Why faster than Wi-Fi?
- Wi-Fi uses radio waves which are spread out everywhere. Li-Fi is easy to focus on one particular area
- Light has a very high frequency than radio waves hence carry more energy or information per cycle.
People’s misconception about Li-Fi working
People would be forgiven for thinking that staying online with Li-Fi would need the lights left on. Haas’s Li-Fi system is so sensitive that he’s demonstrated it working with LED bulbs dimmed to such low levels that they appear turned off.
“Currently so many companies designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. They are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the Internet in their office space.”However, Velmenni was not the only company interested in bringing Li-Fi to the real world. Other names, such as Oledcomm and pureLiFi by the creator of technology Harald Haas, are also working to commercialize the technology. As Li-Fi is based on light, it cannot go through walls and would have a more limited range than Wi-Fi – which also means greater security.
To connect to a Li-Fi network, devices must be equipped with the Microchip that has the capability to recognize the LED light signals and can use them to transfer data. Security aspect of VLC is it works only when the device has a line of sight to the light transmitter and as we all know, light cannot penetrate walls as radio signals can, so drive-by hacking of wireless signals would be very difficult.
So, I hope you enjoyed this article and drop your views on Li-Fi ….
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