What is Li-Fi?

Sources: TechWorld, pureLiFi, Google

Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) is a visible light communication (aka VLC) system that runs completely on wireless communications by means of travelling at very fast speeds.

This process is completed by utilizing your average, everyday common house hold LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lightbulbs, in order to send and receive data transfer packets. Utilizing this new Wireless Network, the engineers have been able to reach wireless speeds up to 224 Gigabits per second.
And you thought your high-speed gaming network was fast?

Professor Harald Hass coined the term ‘Li-Fi’ at the University of Edinburgh, envisioning light bulbs that will one day actually act as our house-hold (or business) wireless routers.

In 2012, with just four years of performing research, Haas setup a company ‘pureLiFi,’ with the single goal “to be the world leader in Visible Light Communications Technology.”

Li-Fi, much like Wi-Fi, are very similar: they both provide the same means of transmitting data electromagnetically. However, Wi-Fi utilizes the usage of radio waves, while Li-Fi runs solely off of the visible light.

Li-Fi Diagram

Now, we know that Li-Fi is a complex Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. This also states that the system accommodates a photo detector in order to receive light signals, as well as a type of signal processing element, in order to convert the data into a “stream-able” content.

The wonderful news from this is that any LED lightbulb is a semi-conductor light source. This simply stated means that the constant current of electricity supplied to the LED can be dipped, and even dimmed, without being visible to the human eye. For example, data is first fed into your existing LED light bulb (with the signal processing technology). It will then send the data (already embedded inside of the lights beam) at a very rapid speed to the photo-detector (known as the photodiode).

The miniscule alterations inside the dimming LED bulbs is then converted by the “receiver” into an actual electrical signal. Once completed, the signal will then be converted back into a binary data stream recognized as a web, video, and/or audio applications, which rely on Internet enabled device(s).

Li-Fi Image 3

While receiving up to 224 gigabits per second can actually leave Wi-Fi in the past, Li-Fi’s exclusive usage of visible light can place a halt upon a mass uptake in your new Li-Fi system.

Li-Fi will be able to pass through walls like Wi-Fi can. This indicates that if you wish to enjoy your wireless Internet throughout the entire house, you will need to place capable LED lightbulbs everywhere. Li-Fi also depends upon the LED’s light source, so you will need to have your lights on all the time. And once again, Li-Fi hits another barrier as the limited light source

But this is not just completely out of the question. While Li-Fi has some of the best speeds, this application would be ideal for those in offices with lights constantly running. It will allow data transferred with higher speeds than your typical Wi-Fi, as well as the option of more wireless devices to be connected with each other, as well. This is perfectly ideal for office space environment settings where file data transfer is necessary.

Since Li-Fi has such a short range (the space of your light beams), Li-Fi is more secured than that of the typical Wi-Fi. It has also been reported that the embedded light-beams reflecting from surfaces (Mirror, Table Top, etc.) is still able to achieve a direct 70 megabits per second.

Li-Fi Image 2

Once more on the edge of things, Apple has some of their latest devices (iOS 9.1) code referring to Li-Fi. Apple has this written as ‘LiFiCapability,’ hinting to Apple users that the company may start integrating Li-Fi technology within their devices in the near future.