Something to note is that the Need for Speed has always driven the technology behind our communication networks. Three major core technology that dominate our networks today are the legacy copper coaxial cable technology, the optical fibres and the RF technology. These form the back bones of our network for data transmission. The latest technology being explored is the Li-Fi or Light Fidelity. The name was coined by Prof. Harald Haas, who is also a leading pioneer behind this technology. Discussions on Li-Fi has been trending over the internet for the past week.The excitement is about the speed of the Li-Fi which is 100 times faster than Wifi.
Li-Fi like Wifi is wireless. However instead of using RF waves, Li-Fi uses visible light communication, infra-red and near ultraviolet frequencies in the electro magnetic frequency spectrum. Referred to as Optical Wireless Communication (OWC) technology; it uses light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a medium to transmit data. It works by switching the current to the LEDs off and on at a very high rate. Although Li-Fi LEDs would have to be kept on to transmit data, they could be dimmed to below human visibility while still emitting enough light to carry data. Direct line of sight isn’t necessary for Li-Fi to transmit a signal; light reflected off the walls can also transmit the data. Li-Fi has almost no limitations on capacity and bandwidth because the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum. Li-Fi is also expected to be ten times cheaper than Wi-Fi.
There are a few road blocks that Li-Fi has to cross before becoming a commercial standard. Primarily issues with a standard protocol that governs the communication. Much progress has been made towards developing and standardizing the communication protocol behind Li-Fi. Another issue is the short range of communication which is going to govern the network topologies. Li-Fi is also predicted to be a key player in the IOTs in the coming decades.
PureLiFi brought the first first commercially available Li-Fi system to us. Although visible light communication (VLC) is not entirely Li-Fi, as of now vendors tend to market VLC products as LI-Fi. Haas explains the the technology in his TEDTalk and the road map for it. As is clear, Li-Fi needs a massive support from the industry before it can be fully commercialized as a licensed product. Perhaps this is the next technology to invest in!
For more reading take a look at IFL Science’s article on Li-Fi and catch up with the new development in the technology from Li-Fi Centre, the epicentre of research in Li-Fi. Follow the latest from Li-Fi center on twitter @LiFi_Centre.