The Beaming Future of Li-Fi Technology
By Samra Taban

Intro: LiFi is a wireless optical networking technology that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for data transmission. By using LiFi in all the lights in and around a building, the technology could enable greater area of coverage than a WiFi router.

Li-fi or Light Fidelity was coined by Professor Harald Haas during his TED Global Talk in 2011. He brought the concept of Wireless data in visible light. He is the co-founder of pureLiFi and a mobile communications professor at the University of Edinburgh. Li-Fi technology is undoubtedly the future of Internet. Today, we have the Internet of Things or connectivity in all our devices but we are all working towards exponentially growing demand for Internet. Wireless fidelity or what we cherish today as Wi-Fi cannot handle this increase in demand by itself. Data is exploited and unless we find a way to regulate the traffic in the networks, we might not be able to sustain the Internet demand. This phenomenon is called the Spectrum Crunch. This is where Light Fidelity can make a great contribution to the Internet.

With a clue hidden in its name, Light Fidelity is a form of Optical Networking or Visual Light Communication, meaning it makes use of light to transfer data. The light that is the source of our lamps at our homes can be used to pass on data to the devices that need internet. The humble LED is the basic requirement for commendable data transfer, as much as 224 GB per second. Both Wi-Fi and Li-Fi use electromagnetic waves to transfer data. The only difference lies in the medium. Wi-Fi uses radio waves and Li-Fi functions on visible light. Li-fi technology is a more sustainable approach to our Internet needs because light-emitting diodes are available in abundance. It is also over 200 times faster than your superfast broadband.

How does it work?

In the coming years, where there is light, there will be a connection to the World Wide Web. But, not all sources of light can be incorporated into the system, only LED lights will be the perfect fit. A bunch of LED lamps are set up in a wireless network in which each lamp is powered with a driver. This driver receives information from a server, encodes it and sends it across to a photo detector. The encoded data flickers at a high speed that can only be decoded by the photo detector in the other end.

How is Li-fi better than existing technology?

Corporates and industries need lightning fast speed to function in order to meet the demands of the market. Their manufacturing and administrative processes need advanced internet to be at par with the expected productivity levels. With higher speed when compared to Wi-fi, the frequency spectrum is 10000 times more than radio waves. Beside, Wi-Fi is not secure enough to handle sensitive information. In Li-fi, without a clear line of sight, data cannot be intercepted. In addition, it prevents piggybacking and electromagnetic interference in networks in hospital and security environments. Li-fi is a lot more affordable. Data will be available more in abundance than it is today.

We haven’t gotten around to applying Li-fi technology into our lives. It is a young concept in the process of meticulous research. Although the theory has been applied before, using it for internet on a large scale is still in progress. Pure Li-fi is already providing this technology with dongles and USBs. 2018 brings a lot of prospects for the Li-Fi industry. In a couple of years, Li-fi holds the capacity of replacing our current form of data usage. Lights will not only find a place on your study desks and your offices but also in a form of excellent wireless communication. The future of data consumption is here, and it is pretty bright (pun intended).

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