Li-Fi 100x Faster Than Wi-Fi! Uses Light to Transfer Data at Speeds of 1GBps Securely And More Efficient
Li-Fi is a new wireless data transfer technology that is faster and more secure than the current Wi-Fi tech. It is claimed to support data transfers of up to 1GBps.
The claimed speed is up to 100 times faster than today’s Wi-Fi tech. It could prove useful for offices that needs a secure and fast network for transferring and sending files.
Start-up Velmenni already started trials for the Li-Fi tech in Tallinn offices. However, there is no word yet on possible bugs and such that could hinder the development of the project.
Wireless Transmission of Data via Light
Instead of using radio waves like Wi-Fi does, Li-Fi utilizes light, hence the name. Information is beamed through the light in the air. The concept comes from how fibre optic cables work. Light travels fast from one end of the cable to the other, sending and receiving bytes of data in a fraction of a second.
One problem that Li-Fi tackled is how to “guide” the light that delivers information through the air. Cables do the job perfectly as the light would only go back and forth.
Li-Fi uses flickering LED lights that can rapidly transmit the data from and to supported devices. The frequency of the data transmission is between 400 and 800 terahertz.
How does Li-Fi work with the flickering of lights? Just like morse-code, the receiver would understand the data based on the patterns created by the lights. It takes a couple of seconds or minutes to get a complete sentence off of morse-code transmission. With the Visible Light Communication (VLC) process, the flickering is so fast that megabytes of data are transferred instantaneously.
Li-Fi took several years before it came to the point where it is near commercialization. Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh demonstrated the VLC in his TED talk in 2011.
Professor Haas explained that the concept of Li-Fi is very similar to how remote controls work. The Infrared waves, which can only be used in low power due to safety reasons, only transmit a single data stream. That’s why it’s used to switch a TV on or off, change channels, increase or decrease the volume and more. However, the commands are only sent one at a time.
In contrast, the LED light bulbs could transfer thousands of data streams at a much faster rate than Infrared. Professor Haas further explained that the light bulb sends an electrical signal that is then converted back into high speed data stream for a computer to understand and interpret in real time.
There was also a demonstration of the technology using a modified desk lamp, which was fitted with a $3 LED light bulb. It was placed on top of a tall table with a hole were the light bulb was positioned.
Underneath the hole is a receiver that interprets the data coming from the light bulb. When the light was turned on, a high-definition video suddenly appeared on screen. The video also stops playing when the light is blocked, demonstrating that the light was transferring the video stream.
No Interference with Other Lights
Unlike radio waves, light also has a very wide spectrum that can be utilized. In some cases, radio waves interfere with each other. This could cause slow Internet speeds and corrupted file transfers.
During the demonstration, Professor Haas also explained that the receiver can ignore other light present. Even if there were hundreds of light bulbs turned on, the receiver can still listen to only one and effectively transmit the data.
One potential problem that a user might face is the need to turn the light off. Professor Haas also said that the light can be dimmed down to a level that it appears to be off to the human eye, but it can still transmit data.
In terms of capacity, it is possible that the existing light infrastructure around the world can be used for the technology. Light also has 10,000 more spectrum available.
Efficiency is also another big advantage. Since the light already serves the main purpose of illumination, essentially the data transmission can be free. There would be no need for additional power to make the technology possible.
Velmenni is also developing an app for Android that can receive data from their smart LED bulbs called “Jugnu”. The bulb could also transfer data to other bulbs and even access the Internet.
Faster and Safer than Wi-Fi
Researchers from the Oxford University managed to achieve a whopping 224 gigabits per second under lab conditions. At that rate of download speed, a user could download a whole season of Game of Thrones in 1080p under a second.
Besides the insanely fast speeds, Li-Fi is also more secure than Wi-Fi. A skilled hacker can break into a wireless network a couple of steps away from the router to avoid suspicion.
For Li-Fi, the hacker should be physically present to receive the data transmitting light. In an office setting, Li-Fi could be a very secure option to transfer files around. Since light cannot pass through walls, the data is safe and sound inside. The data could also be shifted into another direction if needed.
Velmenni CEO Deepak Solanki said that “Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the internet in their office space.”
In Professor Haas’s TED talk, he also gave examples on the practical applications of Li-Fi. One is for deep sea explorations. Light is always present in such trips to the depths of the ocean, as such, the light used can also be used to transmit data.
Another example given was in a petrochemical plant. Radio frequency data transmissions are not a safe choice as it can lead to antenna sparks. Li-Fi can be used instead as it is present in almost every corner of a factory.