There are various means of internet connections like broadband connection, wired connection, by USB dongle or through Wi-Fi. Importance of internet communication is increasing day by day, so for faster connectivity and communication better devices or technologies are needed for low latency data transmission. There are various problems which cannot be tackled by the above-mentioned devices. The advancement of technology in every field requires a smart internet connectivity which should not only provide fast connection but will also be able to provide cleaner, greener, and brighter future. This post is about a new wireless technology which could be the future of wireless internet communication.
What is Li-Fi?
Li-Fi or Light Fidelity is a new type of wireless technology which is based on Visible Light Communication (VLC) system for data transferring. This wireless technology was invented by University of Edinburgh Professor Harald Haas who coined the term ‘Li-Fi’ during a TED Global Talk in 2011. A company named Velmenni from Tallinn, Estonia in 2015 claimed that they have tested Li-Fi technology successfully in their industrial environments and stated that Li-Fi can transmit information at a lightning fast speed of One Gigabyte per second. Since its bandwidth is 10,000 times than the radio waves, so it can transmit data in a wireless environment at a speed of light which is also a renewable energy technology. It can be used for providing wireless data communication along with illumination of light. Moreover, it is also the future of 5G, 6G networks.
How does Li-Fi works?
Li-Fi majorly needs two components to work: 1) at least one device with a photodiode able to receive light signals and 2) a light source equipped with a signal processing unit. It requires a light source, such as a standard LED bulb, an internet connection, and a photodetector. Li-Fi uses light from LEDs, instead of radio waves as in the case of Wi-Fi, to send information in the form of binary data. This binary data is received by the receiver equipped with a decoder that decrypts the data and triggers actions in your smart device. LED cells can modulate thousands of signals without the human eye ever noticing. Data is fed into an LED light bulb (with signal processing technology), it then sends data (embedded in its beam) at rapid speeds to the photo-detector (photodiode). The tiny changes in the rapid dimming of LED bulbs are then converted by the ‘receiver’ into an electrical signal. The signal is then converted back into a binary data stream that we would recognize as web, video and audio applications that run on internet enables devices.
How Li-Fi is better than Wi-Fi?
1:- Li-Fi speed is 10x faster than the current Wi-Fi. The researchers at Oxford University tested it and achieved a speed of 224 Gbps which can also be said as 5th generation or maybe 6th generation speed. With the help of Light Fidelity wireless technology, people can download anything like high-definition films, albums, and even video games just in a matter of seconds (although the speed will depend on your internet service providers) which is not an easy task for Wi-Fi.
2:- Li-Fi ( which is the optical version of Wi-Fi) will be a cheaper wireless-communication system in comparison to Wi-Fi. Due to free band which doesn’t need license and use of light, Li-Fi is cheaper than Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is expensive because it uses radio spectrum.
3:- While using Wi-Fi, the data is transferred through radio waves can pass through walls or barriers. So the data can be hacked or can be used by a person from outside of that residence or office. Visible light doesn’t cause radio waves in case it tends to fall at straight lines and tries to focus on one particular place only, so the data transferred from Li-Fi will never get lost. Light has a very high frequency than radio waves hence carry more energy or information per cycle. Higher frequency = high transfer rates. Therefore, in case of security, Li-Fi is more highly secure way of communication than Wi-Fi.
4:- Li-Fi works where Wi-Fi is prohibited. The areas where Wi-Fi is not possible to be made use of because of restriction of radio waves to enter those places, so Li-Fi could be used in those places. Radio waves can cause radiation which can be harmful to human beings but visible light do not cause any harm to human beings. So Li-Fi can play a big role for network communication in restricted areas (where network connections are not possible) in the near future.
- Since visible light cannot pass through walls or physical barriers, its signal range is limited to a particular place only. So LED bulbs which will be Li-Fi activated have to be placed throughout the home or offices for full connectivity. Moreover, if anything will block or interrupt the light falling from those LED bulbs then it will also cause interference in internet connectivity.
- Other sources of light could interfere the signals of the Li-Fi network connectivity. The sources could be another artificial light sources or natural light source. The main problem will happen when the Li-Fi connectivity will be done in such a room where sunlight can fall or the rays of sunlight will intercept the signals in that particular place. Sunlight will interfere the signals, resulting in interrupted Internet. Although it is still not disclosed or verified how it will work in the outdoors or which light source will be used for Li-Fi technology outside in the daylight.
- Since this technology is based on Visible Light Communication, the light source should be turned on every time whether it is day or night time during sleeping hours to provide connectivity. Some researchers said that LiFi can also use low-intensity IR rays at night during sleeping time but it will reduce the internet speed. High-intensity infrared rays will be needed for more speed but these rays will affect the human skin. So, Li-Fi will use low-intensity IR rays that will lead to a slow internet which will be a drawback. In public areas, Li-Fi enabled LED lights will need to be set up in every place to use this technology. So, it can lead to a cost issue because a whole new infrastructure for Li-Fi would need to be constructed.
* Aviation Industry:- With the help of Li-Fi people can stream media content, watch movies, videos everything through light inside a cabin of an aircraft. It can replace a lot of cables from an aircraft. Its very secure so it can be set up inside the cockpit and the whole communication inside the cockpit can be done through Li-Fi. Moreover, it can also be made use in Airports, Air Defences Headquarters (like for jet fighter planes) or anything related to the aviation industry.
* Hospitals & Healthcare:- LiFi offers an unprecedented opportunity for connectivity within hospitals and healthcare facilities. LiFi does not emit electromagnetic interference and therefore does not interfere with medical instruments, nor is it interfered with by MRI scanners.
* Smart Cities:- LiFi can enable the realisation of truly smart cities. Street lights, building lights, and transportation lighting can all communicate wirelessly. LiFi can relieve public wireless congestion as an offloading facility for radio frequencies.
* Intelligent Transportation System:- In the future our vehicles are going to be connected to each other. All the cars will send information about their speed, braking or traffic among each other. People can utilize the light from the cars for data transmission or may take help from the light of street lights.
* Underwater Wireless Network Communication:- As we all know that radio waves can’t transmit signals through water so we cannot use Wi-Fi under water. It becomes difficult for the submarines to communicate among themselves under water so Li-Fi can play a huge role there because visible light waves can pass through water.
~There are many more applications of Li-Fi apart from these applications in which researches have already started and this new technology will soon be made available for the normal people in the near future.
Professor Harald Haas conference at TED Global Talk in 2011