What Is Li-Fi?

Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) is the concept of transferring data over a new form of Wi-Fi based on light. Li-Fi can send 224 gigabits per second due to the data being sent through light itself. This technology is still being developed but has entered the stage where it is starting to be tested and used by privileged individuals. The idea behind this technology is not only the speed and efficiency but the convenience. To explain, right now we strongly depend on the ability of our router or extenders to provider wireless-based internet to our devices, but the biggest limitation is having every square inch of the building having the same out of signal strength. This is technically solved using Li-Fi by not depending on a wireless based signal but rather a light-based signal. This means if there is light in the room that is Li-Fi enabled/compatible via a bulb or tube there will be a signal. This technology and term was coined by Professor Harald Haas in 2011 and soon after in 2012 Professor Haas set up a company called pureLiFi with the goal of becoming the leader in Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology.

How Does Li-Fi Work?

The concept of Li-Fi and Wi-Fi are similar in the respect that they both transfer data electromagnetically. The main difference between the two are Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transfer data while Li-Fi uses visible light waves. Li-Fi uses a photo-detector to receive the light signals and convert the light signal using a signal processing element to convert the data into content. For example, a led light bulb is a semiconductor light source this means that the current of electricity supplied to the bulb can be dipped and dimmed at a very high speed which is so fast that it cannot be detected by the human eye. So, the way it would work is if the data is fed into the bulb with the signal processing technology it is then sent using beams that are embedded in the photo-detector to transcode. The idea is the change in the dimness and the frequency of the dimness will provide data which is then converted by the receiver to electrical signals. Then from the electric signal, it is then converted back into a binary data stream which can be recognized accordingly.

Is Li-Fi Better Than Wi-Fi?

Just like everything Li-Fi has drawbacks too. One of the biggest drawbacks is unlike Wi-Fi, Li-Fi does not pass through walls. This means to have connectivity a Li-Fi enabled LED bulb should be in every room. To make matters worse, to have Li-Fi functional it is important to have the LEDs on at all times. This means regardless of the time of day the LEDs should be on for Li-Fi to work as intended. So, in other words, if you lack a LED bulb in a location then you will not have Li-Fi working in that location. One of the biggest advantages of Li-Fi is it negates most security problems associated with shared and often overloaded broadband networks. Soon, Li-Fi could make a huge impact on how we use the internet due to the impressive speeds it can handle and transmit. There are several different companies investing in Li-Fi currently and since it is still in its infant stage once this technology matures a bit more and proves useful we foresee it possibly becoming the next Wi-Fi of the 21st century if not sooner.