What is LiFi? Everything you need to know

LiFi is a complete network solution, that provides the technology for data sharing over a new type of wireless network. This network utilizes visible light communications (VLC) instead of wireless RF signals. In a LiFi network, content is provided to users through light and doesn’t produce radio waves to transmit data. As such, it doesn’t interfere with critical equipment, in airplanes or in medical facilities. This new technology can be the solution to the problem of creating high security wireless networks with significantly more bandwidth, while being cost effective.


Although visible light communication is a concept researched by many scientists the first to introduce Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), was professor Harald Haas, Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh. He co-founded Pure VLC which later changed its name to pure Li-Fi and he introduced the concept to the public in his 2011 TED Global Talk. Since then, Li-Fi technology has found significant partners from the networking industry and has excelled in making Li-Fi a user friendly, secure and safe Wi-Fi network alternative.


How does it work?


LiFi makes use of LED lights to transmit data at very high speeds by converting them to light sequences. LED lights can work as diodes and switch on and off at speeds the human eye can’t detect. They also adapt to sunlight. These light sequences are captured by a light receiver and get converted back to data for the user to enjoy. This process is bidirectional so the user’s receiver can also send data. Using LiFi to share data requires light, but LiFi can continue to work in a dimmed down state.



How can it help?


A LiFi network can provide significant advantages to a common user or an enterprise in many new ways. LiFi has the potential of surpassing many times the speed of the most reliable network equipment currently on the market. As user demand for more data rises, the technology integrated in LiFi equipment adapts to it. The difference between a radio signal driven network and LiFi, is that the latter accesses a wider, almost infinite spectrum, that of light. Many different clients can be served without the delay of any data even in the most demanding situations. This will prove to be a strong asset later in this decade as IoT and heavy data demand rises.


Sharing such amounts of data at ease, is also critical when a network is used in a medical facility, a school, or any other institution that Wi-Fi networks are not a safe solution. LiFi will not interfere with critical equipment, since it doesn’t produce radio waves. Using light to transmit internet data is safe to use even in airplanes, and LiFi is one of the key candidates to make this possible on modern aircrafts. With up to 16 users connecting to every LiFi LED light, all the passengers can enjoy high speed and unlimited bandwidth.


Another key aspect of LiFi technology when compared to Wireless networking is safety. If a potential hacker can receive the signal of a Wi-Fi network they want to breach, they can then attack the network and if they succeed, they can cause harm in many ways. In a facility that LiFi is deployed to access a network, this will never be possible. Light cannot pierce through a wall and thus, LiFi will never be hacked from outside.


The important fact about LiFi is that it promises to offer a lot, has a lot of partners and its receivers will be integrated in mobile devices, starting in 2022. There are many limitations now but LiFi is a technology that is clean, consumes little power and is highly efficient. In certain environments it can be the safest, most convenient option. As research continues more places where LiFi thrives, will emerge and offer a great experience to the user.