Could Li-Fi Be the New & Improved Wi-Fi?

Written by on November 27, 2015 in Sci-Tech, Technology with 13 Comments


By Bec Crew | Science Alert

Expect to hear a whole lot more about Li-Fi – a wireless technology that transmits high-speed data using visible light communication (VLC) – in the coming months. With scientists achieving speeds of 224 gigabits per second in the lab using Li-Fi earlier this year, the potential for this technology to change everything about the way we use the Internet is huge.

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And now, scientists have taken Li-Fi out of the lab for the first time, trialling it in offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia, reporting that they can achieve data transmission at 1 GB per second – that's 100 times faster than current average Wi-Fi speeds.

“We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilise the VLC (visible light communication) technology,” Deepak Solanki, CEO of Estonian tech company, Velmenni, told IBTimes UK.

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“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.”

Li-Fi was invented by Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland back in 2011, when he demonstrated for the first time that by flickering the light from a single LED, he could transmit far more data than a cellular tower. Think back to that lab-based record of 224 gigabits per second – that's 18 movies of 1.5 GB each being downloaded every single second.

The technology uses Visible Light Communication (VLC), a medium that uses visible light between 400 and 800 terahertz (THz). It works basically like an incredibly advanced form of Morse code – just like switching a torch on and off according to a certain pattern can relay a secret message, flicking an LED on and off at extreme speeds can be used to write and transmit things in binary code.

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And while you might be worried about how all that flickering in an office environment would drive you crazy, don’t worry – we’re talking LEDs that can be switched on and off at speeds imperceptible to the naked eye.


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13 Reader Comments

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  1.' Jili Jenni says:

    I have heard we should move back to broadband due to the health risks of wi fi……..I can’t imageine what li fi does to the body

    •' Chris Dunham says:

      I got rid of wifi in my home, went back to a cable connection from router to devices. Wifi disrupts sleep patterns as well as being generally bad for your health.

    •' Craig Fleming says:

      Absolutely. Hard line all your devices and turn off Wi-Fi. Get dirty electricity filters for your outlets and ionizes to help with reducing emf pollution. You will sleep better and be healthier.

    •' Jon Powell says:

      How do you connect to the net from the cell phone with Wi-Fi turned off?

  2.' Juanita Wigsmoen says:

    It sounds scary, like someone might get into my head. I don’t like it.

  3.' Graham Barnett says:

    pointless, when the signal going to it is shit. Its like buying a Veyron body shell and putting a 1 litre engine in it!!

  4.' Leul Yonas says:

    faster than wi_fi?

  5.' Chris Dunham says:

    Great, so now everyone can get cancer 10x faster?!

  6.' Woody Edwards says:

    If li-Fi is that much faster and does not emit EMF’s, i’m all for it. We have too much EMFs in our home, like microwaves, cell phones, laptops and many other items. EMF’s cause cancer.

  7.' Tim Conners says:

    If li-Fi is faster, then it must be the narrowing of the bandwidth, that could facilitate faster data transfer than the already narrow bandwidth that wi-Fi uses, therefore, the streaming data streams, could rip through flesh like tiny shards of glass, thus creating havoc in our bodies. Or it could very well do nothing at all to our bodies. Maybe, and just a thought, this development could very well be, that the scientific community knows about the health risks caused by wi-Fi signals, and with this new and improved li-Fi signal, it could reduce those health risks significantly.

  8.' Joe Holzer says:

    … is the data transmitted via the electrical grid ?….

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