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Li-Fi — 100 times faster than Wi-Fi

Posted in Technology

Harald Haas, a professor at Edinburgh University in 2011 he invented a wireless broadband technology that uses LEDs to send data at hundreds of times the speed of today’s wi-fi networks.

Li-Fi Inventor
Li-Fi inventor Professor Harald Haas

The system is known as li-fi (short for light fidelity) and offers compelling advantages over wi-fi. Not only is it is more energy efficient, but it is also capable of up to 10,000 times the bandwidth of wi-fi. Many see li-fi as being complimentary to wi-fi. Haas’ own company, PureLiFi, is also manufacturing li-fi equipment for businesses. Although home li-fi is still several years away, adoption of much of the infrastructure needed (LED lighting) continues to grow, which could make retrofitting li-fi a hassle-free process.

Tests have proven that a super-fast data transmitting technology called Li-Fi is 100 times faster than the existing Wi-Fi internet access points. 

Results of recent tests carried out by Velmenni, an Estonian start-up company in the city of Tallin, show that Li-Fi, which uses light to beam information through the air, was superbly fast in offices and industrial environments. The Velmenni version of li-fi has recorded speeds of up to 1GBps. This is up to 100-times faster than the current crop of wi-fi technologies.

“We have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light,” said head of Velmenni Deepak Solanki (From NewDelhi, India)

What is new with li-fi is the use of specialized LED driver chips. These can dim and brighten LEDs encoding data much like a fast form of Morse code. The entire process happens so fast that it is completely imperceptible to humans.

At its simplest, a li-fi system consists of an LED transmitter and solar panel receiver system. It might sound basic, but it works, and it is fast. In the lab, li-fi has clocked in at speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second. Back in the real world, data speeds from a single 5Mw micro LED are around a still zippy 1-3 gigabit per second.

It’s also secure. wi-fi signals can penetrate most walls to pass beyond the boundary of your home or business and can be intercepted. Light doesn’t penetrate walls so securing a li-fi network can be as simple as drawing the blinds.

One of the most obvious is using li-fi to deliver broadband using LED streetlights. Li-fi does have its limitations. Performance varies with lighting conditions. For outdoor use weather such as fog or rain could impact data throughput.

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