Will we say goodbye to Wi-fi? Scientists have been obtaining speeds of 224 gigabits per second in the lab using a new technology called “Li-Fi” earlier this year. We will be hearing more about this technology that carries high-speed data using visible light communication (VLC) instead of radio frequency waves in the next few months. For Li-Fi to be established, an internet connection, photo detector and a light source such as a basic LED bulb is required. It transmits much more information and thus presents a solution the drawbacks of RF-bandwith. This progess in technology has a huge plausibility to transform everything about the way we use the Internet. Velmenni, an Estonian startup company in Tallinn succeeded at transmitting data at 1GB per second, making it almost 100 times faster than the usual Wi-fi speeds. Switching bulbs on and off in a period of nanaseconds, impossible to be noted by human eye is what creates visible light communication (VLC).
What is Li-FI ?
Li-Fi technology first appeared on Global Ted Talk almost four years ago, viewed almost 4 million times was introduced by German phycisist and University of Edinburgh Professor Harald Haas. He showed that it was possible that more data than a celular tower could be transferred with a flashing light from an LED. Professor Haas spoke enthusiastically potraying a future of wireless hotpots existing as a result of billions of light bulbs. Unlike Wi-fi, Li-fi can be implented on aircrafts and other places where inteference is an issue because it does not interefere with other radio signals. Because the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times bigger, it is remote that it will deplete expeditiously. This is a plus over Wi-fi, where the spectrum for radio waves is in insuffcient amount.
Li-Fi does not need a direct line in sight for a signal to be transmitted ; 70 Mbit/s can be achieved through light reflected off the walls. Although one of the key strengths of Li-fi is the non-inteference with radio signals, the plain truth that visible light cannot penetrate through walls override many of the advantages. This reason alone contributes to a huge advantage of Wi-fi over Li-Fi. Even though it is foreseeable that a network of connected lightbulbs all being used to transfer data between nodes, it is difficult to imagine the benefits of faster wireless technology overshadowing the costs of LED lights continuous usage and the cost of clear line-of-sight using optical detectors. Furthermore, Li-Fi connection cannot be set up outdoors in direct sunlight because that would meddle with its signal.
Despite some setbacks of Li-Fi, if you are feeling positive and ready to welcome Li-Fi into your life, hold on to your Wi-Fi routers for some time more. According to the International Business Times, chief executive Deepak Solanki, we will have to contain our enthusiasm as it is going to take another 3 to 4 years before this timeless technology will be within the reach of consumers. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel where internet will be much more accessible and flashing a hundred times more.