By Gaurav Pradhan
Li-Fi, a new word which is buzzing around every online and offline media channels. But what makes Li-Fi special? Where did it come from? What is the future of this technology? We will take a closer look at it.
Origin of Li-Fi
Li-Fi, Light Fidelity was first coined by Prof. Harald Haas, from University of Edinburgh in July 2011 in a talk on TEDGlobal 2011 – ‘Wireless data from every light bulb’ . He believes that this technology will help transmitting via device, higher volume of data compared to a cellular tower – in more efficient, widely circulated and secure manner. The Li-Fi device is, interestingly based on LED pulsation – which cannot be detected by Human Eye. This is a duplex, high speed & fully networked wireless communication technology, which draw parallels with present day Wi-Fi, but with one basic difference. This technology uses visible light communication or infra-red or near ultraviolet spectrum instead of radio frequency waves.
A new method of delivering Data
Li-Fi is believed to deliver internet access speed 100 times faster than present day Wi-Fi, offering a speed of 1 Gbps (gigabit per second). This claim was tested last week by Velmenni, an Estonian start up in Tallinn, Estonia. It was tested in an office space environment where a li-fi enabled light bulb was used, which transmitted data at speeds of 1 Gbps. This is a solution which can allow workers to access the internet as well as providing a smart lighting solution in an industrial space.
Advantages of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi
Li-Fi offers many advantages over Wi-Fi which makes it more lucrative and exciting.
Seamless Experience: Li-Fi uses light which is much more stable than radio frequencies and free from any signal disturbances.
Li-Fi forever: Li-Fi by using light, is a possible answer to depleting radio frequency bandwidths for communication.
Internet in Aircraft: Internet and data transfer through Li-Fi will be possible in aircrafts as Li-Fi will not interfere with airlines signals.
Limitations of Li-Fi
Despite of such lucrative offerings, Li-Fi has limitations which needs to be pondered upon.
Point to Point Only: Li-Fi needs direct transmission among transmitter and receiver, which makes it more susceptible for disruptions if this linearity is not maintained.
Outdoor Susceptibility: Sunlight & Weather conditions will affect the performance of Li-Fi device if placed outdoors.
Opacity: Li-Fi waves will be easily blocked by any opaque object between the transmitter and receiver. This implies it cannot penetrate thick walls like Wi-Fi.
Future of Li-Fi
Based on the current advantages and limitations, Li-Fi can have specialized applications in Healthcare, Education, Defense and other critical domains. But we would have to wait till the limitations are being diminished and Li-Fi comes as a commercial solution. It is estimated that Li-Fi market is going to become more than US $ 6 billion worth by 2018. This can be achieved by more players understanding and participating in this technology to make it scalable and commercially viable.
Could Li-Fi be the new Wi-Fi ? – BBC News – Could Li-Fi be the new Wi-Fi
Li-Fi is 100 times Faster than Wi-Fi Technology: Real World Tests Prove – The Hacker News – Li-Fi is 100 times Faster than Wi-Fi Technology: Real World Tests Prove