Li-Fi or Light fidelity is a type of visible light communication that can be used to exchange data at a very high speed. It uses the concept of transferring data through LED bulbs that we use every day in our life. Data transfer through this type of channel is bidirectional. The term Light Fidelity was first coined by Professor Herald Hass in 2011 in a Global Ted Talk.
How does it work?
Both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi use electromagnetic waves to transmit data but unlike Wi-Fi, Li-Fi uses visible light to transmit data. It uses the common LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulb to transmit data but at a raging fast speed of up to 224 Gigs per second. At one end there is a LED bulb and on the receiving end, there is a photo-detector which is used to receive that light. A signal processing element is also attached with it to convert that light into streamable data.
As we know that the LED bulb is a semiconductor light source. This means that the current passing through it can be dipped and dimmed at a very high speed, which is not visible to the human eye. Taking advantage of this we can feed data into this beam using proper signal processing technology. This beam of data is then received at the other end where the photo-detector does its work.
Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi pic.twitter.com/qWPNNGfSZ4
— Jayant Kumar Sahu (@jaykr2307) August 4, 2017
What does it lack?
As Li-Fi exclusively uses the light as a source to transmit data, it could thus halt a mass uptake. Li-Fi does not use radio waves, therefore, it cannot pass through walls. Therefore, if you want to enjoy Li-Fi at its best, you better keep the lights on even during the day. Li-Fi also lacks the public Wi-Fi network feature as when there’s a lack of light, there’s a lack of connectivity.
Li-Fi Pioneers in 2014 in collaboration with Lucibel, a French lighting company, launched Li-Fi enabled products. Two products named Li-Flame Ceiling unit and Li-Flame Desktop unit were commercially launched to provide these services. While Li-Flame ceiling unit connects to an LED light fixture, the Desktop unit connects via a USB. Using which connectivity with the device is possible.
Li-Fi can be used for security purposes as Wi-Fi signals penetrate the walls and are thus vulnerable. Li-Fi, on the other hand, uses light, therefore, it cannot penetrate the walls making it more secure as it limits its access to devices within the room.
Underwater vehicles can be operated through using Li-Fi channels easily as the length of cable limits how deep the vehicles can travel. However, Li-Fi also limits it at a point as light cannot penetrate past 1000 meters.
Major operations and treatments involve multiple individuals. Information about the patients could be transmitted through Li-Fi channels easily as it provides higher speed and light having little effect on medical instruments.
Li-Fi might not be the best choice for everyday and public use but it is surely a breakthrough for places where data transfer is necessity including its security. It has been made publically available but that’s for indoor use only. Light Fidelity might not completely replace Wi-Fi in near future but it is sure that this amazing discovery has gained attention and would surely become successful in the near future for achieving high speed data transfer.