*Image sourced from TechWorld.com
New industry buzzwords are hard to keep up with – especially in the technology industry. New updates, models, releases, and more are now coming standard with new names and acronyms. Light Fidelity, or Li-Fi, is an industry buzzword we think is worth talking about.
The term Li-Fi was coined during a Ted Talk in 2011 to describe a fully networked wireless communication that travels at very high speeds using common household lightbulbs. No, that wasn’t a typo – lightbulbs. Li-Fi transfers data over light waves produced by LED lightbulbs found around your home.
How It Works
Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system transmitting wireless internet communications at very high speeds. This means that an LED lightbulb emits pulses of light that are undetectable to the human eye because they are so fast. Within those emitted pulses, data can travel to and from receivers. Receivers, also known as photo-detectors, collect information and interpret the transmitted data.
Li-Fi Replacing Wi-Fi?
Although these two wireless communication channels are very similar because they both transmit data electromagnetically, the major difference is that Wi-Fi uses radio waves and Li-Fi uses visible light to transfer that data.
Because of its speed, transferring 224 gigabits per second, Li-Fi is substantially faster than Wi-Fi which transfers data at about 15-20 megabytes per second. That means that Light Fidelity is 11,200 times faster than traditional Wi-Fi.
Although using light to transfer data is nothing new – fiber-optic connections have been around for a while now – Li-Fi has proven to be a faster, more reliable internet connection and will work effortlessly with existing technologies like Wi-Fi and 4G.
Data hackers can leverage Wi-Fi and other forms of internet connectivity to access personal information, even if the internet connection is password protected.
Light Fidelity boasts increases in not only speed but security as well because visible light cannot penetrate solid objects. Therefore, your data being transferred on a Li-Fi internet connection also cannot penetrate solid objects and can be confined to a single area of use, such as a bedroom.
The ability to use light to create an internet connection will provide internet access to areas that Wi-Fi cannot reach and because of this, people are predicting that Li-Fi could replace Wi-Fi as early as 2022.
Common technology companies like Apple are starting to suggest that Light Fidelity will be prevalent in future releases. A grocery store in France is using Li-Fi to track the locations of their customers throughout the store and is then able to offer coupons and incentives.
According to the Ted Talk mentioned above, applicable uses of Light Fidelity range from traffic control systems using a car’s headlights to chemical manufacturing plants where radio frequency is too dangerous and could cause antenna sparks. Harald Haas, the founder of Li-Fi and Ted Talk presenter, also recommended using Light Fidelity for powering medical instruments. The possibilities seem endless.
Still want access to Li-Fi after you turn the lights off? Don’t worry, Li-Fi researchers are working on ways to make it available in the dark. Recent discoveries have shown that dim LED lightbulbs emit enough pulses to transmit data as well as full powered LED lightbulbs, so there’s hope.
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