Imagine a world where every light could connect you to the internet . Lights that illuminate our offices, homes, cars and our streets also connecting us to data and powering our growing demand for connectivity in a energy efficient manner. That’s LIFI technology.
Li-Fi is a technology for wireless communication between devices using visible light wave to transmit data . It was the efforts of Professor Harald Haas and his team at the University of Edinburgh who began to promote and commercialize Li-Fi tech for daily use. The term was first introduced by Harald Haas during a 2011 TEDGlobal talk in Edinburgh titled, “Wireless Data from Every Bulb.”. In technical terms, Li-Fi is a visible light communications (VLC) system that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds over the visible light spectrum, ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
Imagine downloading your favourite movie in 1080p having size of approximately 5-6gb within fraction of seconds . Li-Fi uses light to transfer data at super speeds. How fast you ask? Back in 2015 , scientists achieved speeds of up to a gigantic 224GB/sec.
WHAT IS LI-FI?
To understand how Li-Fi works , it’s essential to understand how Wi-Fi works and gets internet and data to your devices. Basically, Wi-Fi uses radio frequency signals to transmit data from an access point (like a router), and the signal spreads out in a radius around that point. But Li-Fi, on the other hand, is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. Meaning that it uses visible light, like the tubelights and bulbs acting as light source to transmit data. Signals transmitted using light are easier to focus, more denser and can be concentrated in one area, making Li-Fi potentially stronger, efficient and faster than our old buddy, Wi-Fi.
HOW CAN DATA BE TRANSMITTED OVER LIGHT?
MECHANISM OF VISIBLE LIGHT COMMUNICATION
In order to send data over light, Li-Fi relies on LED bulbs. LEDs, unlike halogens or other bulbs that have a transient “warm-up” time and can be switched on and off extremely quickly. So quickly, in fact, that the human eye cannot actually perceive it. When a bunch of leds are packed together ,the beam of light will contain rapid dimming and flickering (that is not perceived by Human Eye) that can be converted into an electric signal by the photoreceiver. This signal is converted back into a binary data stream such as a video, web, or audio file.
Watch Haas’ Ted Talk, for example. When he puts his hand over the LED, the video on the screen stops playing.
ADVANTAGES OF LI-FI OVER WI-FI?
Li-Fi can overcome Wi-Fi’s limitations with respect to energy efficiency, availability, capacity, and speed. Early testing of LiFi found that it is 100 times faster than existing Wi-Fi, including the high-speed Google Fiber. Another great advantage of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi is that ,it’s theoretically more secure. Visible light is much less susceptible to interference and distortion than radio waves, and Li-Fi signals can’t penetrate walls. It prevents and solves various security threats :- one simple example would be it’s harder for neighbours to connect to your internet without paying for it. Should Li-Fi become a global phenomenon, it will reduce energy usage by allowing LEDs to be dimmed for slower speeds.
• Underwater communications: Since radio waves cannot be propagated under water because these waves are strongly absorbed by sea water within feet of their transmission , this renders it unusable underwater but LIFI is suitable for underwater communication
• Health sector: WIFI is not safe to be used in hospitals and other various health care sectors because it penetrates human body. In such places ,LIFI can be implemented and has good scope in such sectors.
• Internet anywhere: Street lamps, light of vehicles can be used to access internet anywhere in footpaths, roads, malls .
• Safety and management: It can be used to update traffic information at almost every instant and it will be easy for traffic police to deal with traffic and catch the one who breaks the rule.
THE FUTURE OF LIFI
It has been announced that Philips Lighting would be testing LiFi on an entire office in France, making it the first company to fully experiment with the technology. Patents have been filed by several companies for LiFi application in the automobile sector, leading to increased road safety or communicate road conditions to traffic lights.
Thus , this is one such technology that has lot of hidden potential within to be discovered. And for you readers , we will be more than pleased to know if it really sparked the curiosity and imagination in you and served the purpose of being your project idea/research paper/or your startup . So please leave us your valuable comments and be a regular visitor to our website for more such interesting blogs.