An exhilarating and interesting potential rival of the wireless veteran Wi-Fi is Light Fidelity or Li-Fi. This innovative alternative makes use of light bulbs and solar cells for transmitting data and is capable of taking the market by storm and making Wi-Fi history.
The truth is that the theory of Li-Fi is not something new as visible light for data transmission is being used since the dawn of time. Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity and is a form of “Visible Light Communications” (VLC). It is being anticipated that this system is capable of offering wireless communications at very high data transfer speeds. This tech utilizes common LED lights to offer data transfer which may well boast speeds of 224 gigabits per second. That equates to around 18 movies of 1.5 GB each being downloaded every single second.
During the TED talk in 2011, a University of Edinburgh Professor Harald Haas made a statement. He proposed wireless routers in the form of lightbulbs and after four years of research, Haas established the company pureLiFi in 2012 with the goal “to be the world leader in Visible Light Communications technology”.
Light fidelity is looking to secure 82% compound annual growth since 2013 which is amazing as it might be worth more than $6 billion a year by this time.
We are already familiar with the fact that the various present wireless data transfer technologies make use of different frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum. Wi-fi is a good example which uses radio waves whereas Li-Fi uses visible light instead. With that in mind, the technology requires a photo-detector to receive light signals and a processor to convert the data into streamable content.
According to Harold Haas, the future implementation of internet connection equipment will need to be provided by energy neutral devices. He also believes that the transmission and receipt of signals should also use existing prolific technologies. His recommended solution is to provide this via LED bulbs and solar cells.
A warning regarding the potential spectrum crisis for Wi-Fi has been issued by the US Federal Communications Commission. In other words, it is close to full capacity. However, Light Fidelity has virtually no limitations on capacity at present. The visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger as compared to the whole radio frequency spectrum. Furthermore, Li-Fi is being expected to be nearly ten times cheaper as opposed to Wi-Fi if and when fully deployed.
But, Li-Fi is not capable of traveling through walls. Therefore, LED bulbs will need to be placed throughout the building in order to offer a large area of connectivity. In addition to this, these bulbs will also need to be on 24-7 to provide the kind of connectivity offered by Wi-Fi routers. This obviously means the light bulbs will also need to be on to provide the signal.
It is quite obvious that in case of lack of lighting there will be a black spot for Li-Fi internet connection which implies that Li-Fi might not be suitable for public networks.
Moreover, a new improvement of Wi-Fi is also on its way known as Wi-Fi HaLow. It is being claimed that this new advancement can double the range of connectivity whilst also using less power. Wi-fi HaLow should be ideal for battery powered devices like smartwatches and smartphones. Besides, it can also turn out to be very useful for “Internet of Things” devices such as sensors and smart apps. “Internet of Things” if realized, could have massive implications for business logistics, consumer convenience and ultimately, resource management.