What is Li-Fi? Read it here.
One of the recent breakthroughs in internet technology is called Li-Fi (Light Fidelity). Believe it or not, this technology greatly relies on the light bulbs we use on a daily basis. What if it were possible for you to have Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps? If it all sounds like a dream to you, listen up: it could be possible just several years from now.
Li-Fi was tested at the end of November 2015 by Velmenni, an Estonian brand that utilized it in industrial environments and offices. Sometime at the beginning of 2015, a team at the University of Oxford tested it as well and ended up with speeds up to 224 Gbps.
Let’s see what makes Li-Fi so special and how it was invented in the first place.
Li-Fi. The beginnings.
Both the term and the idea were introduced in 2011 by a German physicist by the name of Harald Haas. A teacher at the Edinburgh University, the scientist presented his theory at a TED conference.
Haas is the man behind a brand called pure LiFi, of which he is the CSO. Joined by a team of highly trained engineers, the physicist plans to turn ordinary light communication into high-speed networks. In fact, the vision statement of the brand claims to bring forth outstanding data speeds wherever an illumination source is present.
How about an LED light bulb instead of a wireless router?
LED light bulbs are semiconductors, which means that their intensity can be manipulated, provided that the right speed is utilized. Take any typical remote control. It’s capable of transmitting the signal to the television set on account of an infrared LED.
Haas claims that his technology can send data more securely, as the light source from a room cannot be used in the next one. For example, if a mobile device were connected to the Li-Fi network but the person using it would go from one room to the next, they’d require different LED light bulbs in order for the signal to be relayed.
Aside from the net perk of getting an internet connection at higher speeds, the chief science officer refers to three other benefits that one would get from using the network: efficiency, security, and availability.
Li-Fi is more efficient than its Wi-Fi counterpart. Since it uses bulbs, it comes with virtually no extra costs. A router needs to be plugged in at all times and requires quite a lot of electricity to remain powered. It’s common knowledge that LED bulbs are highly economical in this sense, so the end-user gets light and internet at the same time.
As previously mentioned, data security is much greater with Li-Fi, since light is virtually incapable of penetrating walls.
Furthermore, it’s close to impossible to lose the network signal. A simple light bulb gives birth to countless possibilities, considering that a user will be able to use the network regardless of their location.
Several disadvantages do exist, particularly since Li-Fi is still in development. For one, it fails to do its job outside. Second, it might an important cause of light pollution. Testing is still in the works, but at least it’s an invention worth looking forward to.
Even though it still sounds like a dream, pretty soon we might be logging into our e-mail thanks to a light bulb.