Li-fi or light fidelity is a wireless technology which was discovered by physicist and professor Herald Haas. It uses visible light instead of radio waves to transmit date rate at speed of Tb (Tera bytes). It is a green technology and has a future access scope.
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.
However, this makes the network much more secure. The dramatically increased speeds make it a big improvement on current technology for some applications as well.
Professor Harald Haas, from the University of Edinburgh, pioneered the technology and coined the term LiFi in 2011, but this is the first time it’s been used in a ‘real world’ setting.
“In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion LiFis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future.”
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How it works?
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Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system for data transmission. A simple VLC system has two qualifying components: 1) at least one device with a photodiode able to receive light signals and 2) a light source equipped with a signal processing unit.
A VLC light source could comprise of a fluorescent or light emitting diode (LED) bulb. Since a robust Li-Fi system requires extremely high rates of light output, LED bulbs are most ideal for implementing Li-Fi. LED is a semiconductor light source, which implies that LED light bulbs can amplify light intensity and switch rapidly. Therefore, LED cells can modulate thousands of signals without the human eye ever noticing. In turn, the changes in light intensity from the LED light source are interpreted and converted as electrical current by the receiving photodiode device. Once the electronic signal is demodulated, it is converted into a continuous stream of binary data comprising of audio, video, web, and application information to be consumed by any Internet-enabled device.
There is ample room for growing innovation in Li-Fi technology. Like conventional broadband and Wi-Fi, Li-Fi can also function as a bidirectional communication system. By interchanging visible light and infrared light from a photo detector, a mobile device connected to that photo detector can send data back to the light source for uplink. Also, multi-colored RGB (Red/Green/Blue) LED’s at retina size could be engineered to send and receive a wider range of signals than single-colored phosphor-coated white LED’s.
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