Li-Fi Shines New Light on Wireless Connectivity

Wireless internet technology, more commonly referred to as Wi-Fi, continues to be the way most of us wirelessly connect our devices to the internet and is the basis of nearly all corporate wireless infrastructure.

While Wi-Fi is fast, reliable and readily available nearly everywhere from restaurants to libraries, there is always room for improvement.

As technology advances, there are bound to be bigger and and more innovative ways to connect our laptops, tablets and smartphones to the worldwide web.

Li-Fi: Light Fidelity is the newest type of wireless

Invented by Harald Haas in 2011, Li-Fi is innovative technology that works in a similarly to Morse code but uses light rather than sound. Li-fi works by harnessing the power of light to be used for communication and the light is transmitted so fast that it is undetectable to the human eye.

This process is called visible light communication, or VLC, and it utilizes binary code and perceptible light to increase download speeds exponentially. In lab tests, Li-Fi was able to download more than a dozen movies at 224 GB per second. The speed of Li-Fi is approximately 100 times faster than standard Wi-Fi download speeds. The massive speed increase of Li-Fi has huge potential to take over as a primary way to transfer files over the internet, particularly as the on-demand society seeks newer and faster technology solutions.

Transmit more data than a cell tower

Hass is affiliated with University of Edinburgh, Scotland and is currently CSO of PureLiFi – a technology company he co-founded. During a public conference, Haas was able to demonstrate that he could transmit more data than a cell tower by emitting light from an LED bulb, as reported by ScienceAlert. One main feature touted by Hass is the fact that Li-Fi signals cannot travel through walls. Since light is contained within the space it is used, there is no way for a Li-Fi transmission signals to be picked up from an outside source.

The fact that outside sources would be unable to connect to Li-Fi is a huge selling point for corporations and government entities as it would make sensitive information less vulnerable to hackers. In the midst of near-constant security and data breaches, Li-Fi may be one answer to the question of how to effectively minimize risk.

It may be quite some time before we will see Li-Fi used on the same scale as Wi-Fi. Part of the reason for this is that the existing hardware would either need to be modified or replaced to use this new technology. This would undoubtedly be costly and time consuming for businesses who wish to adopt Li-Fi technology. As Li-Fi gains traction and is more widely implemented, the cost and inconvenience will become less of an issue.

There is a great deal of exciting news on the horizon with regard to spreading the word about all that Li-Fi has to offer. According to ScienceAlert, PureLifi recently began to offer a plug-and-play app for Li-Fi wireless connectivity. In an International Business Times interview, CEO of Velmenni Deepak Solanki said, “We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilize the VLC (visible light communication) technology.‘

Companies in multiple industries are also excited to try the technology in practical environments so they can test the Li-Fi technology in their everyday operations. This pilot testing allows users to thoroughly compare the differences between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi and see this exciting technology in action. Additionally, France-based Oledcomm has started installation of Li-Fi in their local hospital system. Healthcare is yet another industry that could benefit greatly from Li-Fi technology as patient privacy is legally mandated and would benefit from the highest levels of wireless security.

As more testing occurs, Li-Fi will inevitably catch on in the same way as Wi-Fi and eventually Li-Fi could even be used to emit light were light bulbs were once used. Wi-Fi will still remain relevant and widely utilized because when it comes to providing wireless connectivity in public or outdoor settings, Li-Fi cannot function in an open environment. Though other uses for Li-Fi further off, the current technology will evolve to solve a wide range of environmental concerns and will certainly assist in energy conservation efforts.