LiFi - Faster internet than WiFi


Internet has been the backbone of all our activities right now. In India, the speed of the Internet services has still been an issue. At the same, we have been witnessing a new dimension in the field of wireless communication. Stated to be hundred times faster than WiFi, the new technology - LiFi - another word for Virtual Light Communication, is witnessing a big research. Though the technology is still in its nascent stage, we will attempt at having a closer look at what changes can this piece of technolog

All of us want a faster Internet speed. Faster and reliable communication has been the backbone of our day to day life. We need fast Internet connectivity for business, and other requirements. LiFi is the new technology that envisages revolutionary Internet performance. We will reflect on the exact meaning and the possibilities offered by LiFi.

What is LiFi?

LiFi stands for Visible Light Communication. It was invented by Harald Haas way back in 2011. In essence, it is a wireless communication technology that transmits enormous amount of data accomplished by flickering LED lights. The LiFi technology is more cost effective and useful than WiFi. In fact, the new communication technology is hundred times faster than WiFi.

It involves transmission of data by illuminating LED light in a pattern faster than what a human eye can follow. It is a optical variant of WiFi. The regular LED bulbs are installed with inbuilt microchips. The microchip flickers at a frequency of millions per second, thus enabling it to send data by rapid transmission of binary codes. Every part of the street can become an Internet hot spot.

The capability of LiFi lies in the nature of frequency used. WiFi needs radio frequency to work. As we all are aware radio frequency happens to be just a fraction of the whole electromagnetic spectrum. It is evident that it will not suffice with more and more user base and increased demand on wireless Internet communication.

How does LiFi work?

The working principle is quite simple in terms of theoretical implementation. If you want to transmit the digit 1, switch on the LED. Switch it off to transmit a 0. As the inventer, Haas stated "switching the LEDs on and off in quick succession gives a nice opportunity to transmit data". You need a set of LEDs and a controller to feed in the data into it. You will control the rate of flicker and you are done.

The LEDs can be switched on and off faster to make it appear to be in a continuous succession. It uses visible light between 400 to 800 THz. The basic components of the system include -

1. A Highly bright LED.

2. A silicone photo diode.

The LED is switched on and off to generate digital signals in the form of 0s and 1s. The flickering rate is varied and a data stream is generated. You can have speeds greater than 100 MBps if you use high speed LEDs. The parallel data transmission can be achieved by using an array of LEDs.

How does it differ from other wireless technologies?

WiFi depends on radio frequency while LiFi is dependent on visible light. It means WiFi will need a specific radio frequency, while LiFi can make use of any light no matter to which frequency of the spectrum it belongs. That means the light can belong to any wavelength - be it visible, ultraviolet or visible. The speed of the data transmission is much high in LiFi. You can practically stand below any kind of post and gain connectivity. WiFi is good for connectivity within buildings and as such can pass through walls. LiFi can not achieve this sort of permeability. Thus, for all practical purposes, I would say LiFi and WiFi would complement each other.

Achievements so far

Velmenni, an Estonian hardware startup has been conducting researches in the field since long. The researchers have successfully tested the technology in the commercial context. They have reported a transmission speeds of up to 1GBps. A research at Oxford University has achieved a bi-directional speed of 224 gigabytes per second. It translates into the capacity of downloading eighteen 1.5 GB movie files in one second! Okay, agreed that these are the values under standard conditions, but you can be sure of getting a speed of around 10 to 30 GBps.

Further research on smart LED bulbs - called Jugnu is in process. It works out by sending data from PC to a microcontroller using visible light. Pilot projects are underway at Velmenni. The new technology is expected to bring up new dimensions to the way we use Internet.

Applications

The LiFi technology finds wide range usage in many of the fields.

1. Medicine -

Medical science has always stayed away from wireless world. Operation Theaters do not allow WiFi for fear of radiation. There are also the risks of interference with medical equipment. LiFi solves all those concerns. You can use LiFi without any issues in the medical field.

2. Airlines -

Using Internet or WiFi on an aircraft has till now been impossible. LiFi comes to the rescue here. It can be implemented by using it on the reading light on every seat.

3. Power plants -

WiFi or other radiations are not suitable for sensitive locations like power plants. LiFi can provide a safer way of communication to monitor demand, grid and core temperatures.

4. Underwater communication -

WiFi has no connectivity under water. Or say the tethering is not strong enough to reach up to the location. So, Li Fi can aid you in achieving supreme connectivity.

5. Disaster management -
You could work easily informed in times of disasters. Lives can easily be saved as long as there are street lights and the people pass under them.

Advantages


1. Speed - The high speed communication can be established. Speeds can go as high as 500mbps or 30 GB per minute.

2. Wider applications - It can be integrated within devices in the forum of LEDs. Medical equipment can have them integrated within themselves. Cars can have the system integrated within the headlamps in the form of head lights. It finds more use in places where radiations are banned.

3. Cost effective - There are around twenty billion bulbs we have been using worldwide. Replace them with LEDs and you are good to go. It is ten times cheaper than WiFi.

4. Security - Since the light cannot pass through walls, the communication stays within the area it is meant for. Your data remains secure.

Limitations

Well, since it depends on light - it suffers from drawbacks that are inherent to the properties of light. Light needs a clear line of sight to travel. Which means it cannot work through the obstacles. Hopefully, we can expect to overcome this limitation soon. There have been quite a few applications developed which have been working effectively. It is too early as of now to predict things.

Parting thoughts

If put to practical use, it would really make each LED build a WiFi hotspot. That would be the first step towards a cleaner, greener and safer connectivity option. It does offer a good and efficient replacement for radio based wireless communication. In the current scenario where radio wavelengths are getting clogged with an increased number of users and the scarcity of bandwidth availability, LiFi is what can provide more reliable, useful and high speed yet safer Internet. For time being, WiFi and LiFi can remain complementary to each other.


Article by Timmappa Kamat
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments. He is fond of new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.

Follow Timmappa Kamat or read 245 articles authored by Timmappa Kamat

Comments

Author: MR KRISHAJIT BARUAH25 Dec 2015 Member Level: Silver   Points : 0

The authors description for the application is noticeable with Wi-Fi and Li-Fi networks.The medical supervision is always required to take care from radiation.
Li-Fi standed on wireless visible flicker, leading lights. Wi-Fi has aware for radio frequency, it happens harmfull for human body for excessive energy system like x-ray machines it has whole electromagnat. The Natural health Society are declared previously.

Author: Timmappa Kamat25 Dec 2015 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Please be clear with your responses, I am not able to make out anything from what you have stated. It would be helpful if you come up with your comments so that I can provide a better response to your queries.
LiFi is currently in a very nascent stage, and it will take years of research into how can it be put to some practical use. But, yes - it would be a great technology in moving towards a greener and cleaner society.



  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name:
    Email: