What is LiFi?

Added by Marissa
June 7, 2018
What is LiFi?

Thanks to WiFi, we can reach the internet almost anytime and anywhere, from our homes, offices, coffee shops, restaurants, and more. But what if I said WiFi might be on the way out? There is a new network connection on the market using an unconventional method: LEDs! This new system is called LiFi or light fidelity, which uses visible light communications (VLC) system to run wireless communications at extremely high speeds. It can provide internet that is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi!

LiFi versus WiFi

To understand what sets LiFi apart, let’s dive a little deeper into how WiFi works. Wireless Fidelity, or WiFi, uses radio waves to provide internet connections. In order to connect to WiFi, you need to be within the designated hotspot or areas near the wireless router. On average, WiFi allows your device to connect by emitting frequencies between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, depending on the data and network.

Now that we know the bare essentials of WiFi, how does LiFi differ and what makes it so much faster? Instead of radio waves, LiFi uses visible light to transmit information, and this light could be the same light used in your light bulbs!

LiFi: How it Works

So, how do we use light to create an internet signal? A constant current is applied to LED lights, which then creates tiny groups of energy called photons that are released and we see as light. As LEDs are semiconductor devices, the visual output or light produced by LEDs can be done at very high speeds. This is then detected by a photodetector, converting it back to electrical current.

But what makes it so much faster than WiFi? Visible light is able to carry more information faster than traditional radio waves used in WiFi. The light spectrum is about 10,00 times larger than the radio wave spectrum, making the internet much faster. LiFi is also able to increase bandwidth 100 times over, due to its ability to transmit data at 224 gigabytes per second!

LiFi offers a unique solution to an internet connection, as we depend on lighting nearly everywhere we go. In this way, using smart LEDs to create LiFi makes the internet not only faster but much more widespread. No more buying a router and plugging and unplugging when it goes down. The idea is that if this catches on, where there is light there will be an internet connection.

LiFi Hurdles

As with any new technology, there are a few hurdles LiFi will need to jump before making a move on the WiFi market. Because LiFi requires light to provide a network connection, smart LEDs must be on whenever using the internet, even during the bright days and late at night. Unlike WiFi, LiFi cannot travel through walls and, therefore, LEDs with connectivity capabilities will need to be installed throughout your home or business for constant, uninterrupted connection.

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