LiFi is still under the development stage and still it’s application might be different than we have been expecting that it will replace WiFi.
But my strong opinion is that it’s application will really work as catalyst for IoT, smart home including connected cars, street lights, real time communication between cars and various other applications that we have not thought of yet.
What is LiFi
LiFi is a wireless communication technology. It is short form for Light Fidelity which means it uses Light as a medium to transmit the data between devices. It can transfer multiple gigabits uniquely and securely when comparing to radio, cullular or Wi-Fi technology.
LiFi transmit the data using Visible light, ultraviolet or even infrared. Currently LED lamps are capable of this technology
There are many developers involved to work on the revolution of LiFi. And those who have not yet considered this technology must ensure that they are capable to produce LiFi enabled technology and must follow Global Light Communication as a part of VLC (Visible Light Communication).
The IEEE 802.11bb Task Group on Light Communications is focused on introducing necessary changes to the base IEEE 802.11 Stds to enable communications in the light medium
There are many enablers for LiFi for example;
- Telecom Operators
- Chip-set Providers
- Light Communication Vendors
- Research Organizations
- Device Integrator
- Lighting Manufacturers
LiFi vs Wi-Fi
When comparing LiFi with traditional Wi-Fi there are many technical differences. Generally, the major difference is that WiFi uses radio frequency whereas LiFi uses optical wireless communication (owc). Which means the light coming from Light emitting diodes (LEDs).
When comapring both technologies side by side we can see major different in three aspects.
- Speed : Comparing to WiFi which is up to 450 mbps/s but LiFi could reach up to 225 Gbits/s
- Price : LiFi devices are expected to be cheaper than WiFi Routers and access points. Generally 10 times cheaper as you will need LED lamps for Light which will have LiFi enabled chip-set as a default feature.
- Accessible : When lights, LiFi will be a default fitting inside the light so there is no special LiFi equipment required, but devices need to be LiFi enabled.
- Secure : LiFi will be secure than WiFi. Firstly, it communicates using Visible light which means light can’t pass through walls.
- Bandwidth : Light spectrum is 10,000 times wider than radio spectrum, which means huge volume of data can be transmitted.
Now the question is here, will LiFi replace Wi-Fi? The answer is – it depends upon the application, LiFi might replace Wi-Fi but not in near future.
LiFi and 5G
Though many technologists are considering LiFi as 5th Generation of Wireless Technology , and many are considering LiFi will lift the 5G or will supplement it. Still it is debatable but we strongly believe that these both technologies will be enabler for each other.
May be Telecom companies will be enabler for LiFi. As Vodafone and Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) have joined forces to combine the communication power of 5G and LiFi, providing their customers with more speed and better mobile broadband connectivity. You can read about it here.
And the fact is that lighting suppliers will sell LiFi enabled lights as Philips is already working on the pilot project.
You can also see O2 here
Present and future of Lifi technology
At present LiFi is still practically not available for consumers, but it is claimed that LiFi will replace current Wifi technology but in my opinion it will bring revolution in IoT and smart home technology.
LiFi Common Applications
Though LiFi might become a common standard for wireless communicaiton in near future, but currently practical applications are below;
Petrol station can allow internet using LiFi as radio frequency is prohibited on petrol station, though both LiFi and radio use electromagnetic frequency but LiFi uses light as a visible frequency (which can be seen as light) whereas other technologies use radio.
Road Safety, Traffic Violation, Navigation and Control
Cars with LED lamps can community with street lights with LED lamps and even traffic signals, that will enable safety and security and traditional radars can be enabled to control traffic violation.
Moreover, Location of street lamps can determine the exact location of the car communicating with the street lamp that will help to navigate and application is endless.
Learning in Museums
Mobile phones in Museum can be connected to provide information of specific object inside museum, this can help to replace traditional audio visual system.
Places with NO GPS or Network
Basements,caves, underground trams, mines or similar places where it is important to enable location service and data communication but due to non availability of Network or communication LiFi can be enabled to overcome these problems.
Smart Home and Building Management
Current Wireless and Wired Protocols can be replaced with LiFi to have and integrated Smart home (a better and high tech) with connected refrigerator, washing machine, car, lights, audio visual systems, cameras, smart phones, controls, sensors and even all the IoTs.
We predict it will be a new protocol for Home Automation , where LiFi enabled IoT devices will communicate using light which might replace traditional zigbee, zwave, Bluetooth, RF and infrared.
Read our Smart Home Article here to know more..
These are few applications that we have thought off, but as we all know Fiber Optic has brought revolution in Internet Communication, similarly LiFi will bring technological revolution.
Other applications which we can think of include communication under water, visitors in shopping malls, patients in hospitals, travelers at airport, and so on.
LiFi Devices Availability
There are some devlopers and manufacturueres who have already worked on Hardware system and are avaialble to purchase.
PureLiFi is one of them.