Here’s What We Know About Li-Fi Technology, the Superfast Successor to WiFi
Li-Fi technology (short for Light Fidelity) has been a talked-about concept for a number of years, but that concept has generated a ton of buzz over the last week or so after it was successfully field-tested and produced astounding results.
Harald Haas, an Australian professor at the Edinburgh University in Scotland, is credited as the inventor of the technology and gave a presentation on it at a TED Talk back in 2011 (seen below).
The 13-ish minute video is worth the watch as Haas dives deep into Li-Fi, but here are the cliff notes: Light Fidelity technology uses a technique called Visible Light Communication, which has already been recorded at speeds of around 224 gigabytes per second under lab-controlled conditions, to transmit data. LED lights are, in essence already doing this. And, on a smaller scale, remote controls that communicate with televisions and set top boxes are already employing this technology.
What Haas and other Li-Fi advocates are attempting to do is bring this technology to the broader market, using it to transmit data. The major benefit of the technology, as has been found in those lab tests and in a real-world setting, is that it can transfer data at speeds of roughly 1Gbps, which is equal to about 100 times the speed of the average WiFi connection.
"Currently, we have designed a smart-lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the Internet in their office space," Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni, a company that is knee-deep in developing the new technology, told International Business Times UK. Solanki said a consumer-ready model could roll out in about three to four years.
Aside from the impressive speed, what makes Li-Fi an enticing venture is the fact that it can be made available through existing technology by simply replacing your standard light bulb with Li-Fi-enabled LED bulbs—in other words, every commercial building and residential home is already outfitted to support Li-Fi technology. Further, the technology wouldn’t require bulky routers and covers more area than a standard WiFi signal. Anywhere you already see light bulbs in use could be transformed into a Li-Fi hotspot. And it’s considered safe to use on airplanes and in hospitals, and it’s considered a much more secure method of connecting to the internet.