What if I tell you that you just need to switch on the bulb of your room and you get access to a local network within seconds?! Yes, it is possible. This is a period of revolution and your dreams about exchanging data at the speed of light can come true. This renowned technology is called “Li-Fi”, or “Light Fidelity”. Basically the bottom line here is that the light waves from the LED is used for data transmission. With the ever-growing demand for connectivity, Li-Fi Technology would be able to combine illumination and wireless data transmission to accelerate the relay of data across the globe.
What Is Li-Fi?
Before that let’s understand what does Wi-Fi do? So, Wi-Fi is a wireless connection to any device, not the internet itself. It provides access to a local network of connected devices, which is why you can print pictures wirelessly or look at a video feed from Wi-Fi connected cameras with no need to be physically connected to them.
Li-Fi Technology is none other than a Wi-Fi connection but with it’s own uniqueness and attributes. Unlike Wi-Fi, this new hi-tech requires visible light to transmit data. In technical terms, Li-Fi is a light communication system that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds over the visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared spectrums. In its present state, only LED lamps can be used for the transmission of visible light. In the layman’s term, it simply states that you just turn on the LEDs in a room and here you have your own Wi-Fi!!
The key difference between these two technologies is that Wi-Fi uses radio waves whereas Li-Fi makes use of visible light for data transmission. Moreover, using the light source for transmission, Li-Fi offers several advantages, most notably a wider bandwidth channel, the ability to safely function in areas otherwise susceptible to electromagnetic interference (e.g. aircraft cabins, hospitals, military), and offering higher transmission speeds. The technology is actively being developed by several organizations around the world.
Now that we know what Li-Fi stands for and what basic aspect this unbelievable technology works, we further dig deep into it’s working, features and impacts on routine life. We will also have a outlook about Li-Fi, the vision it holds for future.
The Logic Behind Li-Fi Technology
It is relevant to think of how this tech must paddle it’s working. As mentioned above, it runs on it’s exclusive fuel of visible light. So exactly what happens and how data transmits through light? Let’s see.
LiFi makes use of visible light through overhead lighting for the transmission of data. This is possible through the use of a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system for data transmission. A VLC system has two qualifying components:
1. At least one device containing a photodiode in order to receive light signals; and
2. A light source equipped with a signal processing unit for the transmission of signals.
Li-Fi is a VLC (visible light communications) system and the speed of this system is very high. Li-Fi uses normal LEDs to allow the data to transfer and increase the speed up to 224 Gigabits/sec. The data transmission of this technology can be done via illumination. The essential devices of this system are the bright light emitting diodes.
The ON/Off activity of LEDs permits a type of data transmission in the form of binary codes but the human eye cannot recognize this transform & the bulbs appear with a stable intensity.
In other words, Li-Fi comprises of multiple light bulbs that form a wireless network. When an electrical current is applied to a LED light bulb a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. The signal can then be received by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity (the signal) as data. Because LiFi technology is still in its relative infancy, there is still much room for growing innovation.
Attributes Of Li-Fi
It won’t be wrong to say that Li-Fi adds data to light the way. What makes Li-Fi distinguishable from Wi-Fi? There are various advantageous features about Li-Fi that makes it stand out different. Some of these are listed below:
1. Operation: The Li-Fi transmits data using light with the help of LED bulbs and radio waves are considered for Wi-Fi data transfer.
2. Interference: Wi-fi will have issues related to interference from nearby access point whereas Li-Fi is free of such disruption.
3. Privacy: Since it is obvious that light gets blocked by walls and so Li-Fi will provide more secure data transfer. But this is not the case with Wi-Fi as RF signals cannot be blocked by walls and hence there is a need to employ techniques to achieve privacy.
4. Speed and Data Density: While the speed of transmission differs from 150MBps to 1GBps in Wi-Fi connection, it’s exactly about 1GBps every time with Li-Fi. This implies that Li-Fi can work in high dense environment unlike Wi-Fi.
5. System Components: Li-Fi consists of a lamp driver, LED bulb and a photo detector. Just this will make up the whole Li-Fi system. On the other side, Wi-Fi needs routers to be installed, subscriber devices( like laptop, computer, etc.) are referred as stations.
Where To Use Li-Fi Technology?
There are various applications of Light Fidelity Technology that have active impact on our day to day life. Some of them are mentioned below:
Most remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) are controlled by wired connections. The length of their cabling places a hard limit on their operational range. Since light can travel through water, Li-Fi based communications could offer much greater mobility. Li-Fi’s utility is limited by the distance light can penetrate water. Significant amounts of light do not penetrate further than 200 meters. Past 1000 meters, no light penetrates.
Efficient communication of data is possible in airborne environments such as a commercial passenger aircraft utilizing Li-Fi. Using this light-based data transmission will not interfere with equipment on the aircraft that relies on radio waves such as its radar.
Many treatments now involve multiple individuals, Li-Fi systems could be a better system to transmit communication about the information of patients. Wireless communication can be done during the use of such medical instruments without having to worry about radio interferences hindering the efficiency of the task.
Vehicles could communicate with one another via front and back lights to increase road safety. Street lights and traffic signals could also provide information about current road situations.
Street lamps can be used to display advertisements for nearby businesses or attractions on cellular devices as an individual passes through. A customer walking into a store and passing through the store’s front lights can show current sales and promotions on the customer’s cellular device.
Students and teachers can be part of a more active educational community in a classroom that is Li-Fi enabled. Students with devices such as smartphones or laptops can communicate with the teacher, or with each other, to create a more efficient learning environment.
Can Li-Fi Eliminate Wi-Fi In Near Future – Wi-Fi vs Li-Fi?
Considering the vast applications of internet on modern technology, there seems to be an emerging need to get an update for Wi-Fi. Because of some limitations in it’s usage, it kind of hinders the progress and can even lead to privacy invasion. Li-Fi Technology is seen to be a better alternative to this as it almost eliminates all the limitations caused due to Wi-Fi. Some people would think that this Li-Fi is the future of Internet. But is it really? Certainly it has various advantages over Wi-Fi but who knows what future holds and what new technology might appear which will be far superior than these two.