What is Li-Fi technology and how it works?
Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) is similar to Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) but uses light for data transmission instead of radio waves. It facilitates the wireless method of data transmission through Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology and can be up to 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. It uses solid-state lighting (SSL) such as LED bulbs.
Visible Light Spectrum:
Li-Fi uses visible light. This indicates that Li-Fi has a wider range of available frequencies as the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the entire radio spectrum. It covers frequencies from 430,000 to 770,000 GHz and colours from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared.
Advantages of Li-Fi:
1- It has less interference.
2- Li-Fi can pass through salty seawater as light can travel through water.
3- It can work in the dense region.
Applications of Li-Fi:
1- It is used in airlines as it will not interfere with the equipment on the aircraft that relies on radio waves such as its radar.
2- Li-Fi is used in undersea explorations as light can travel through water.
3- It is used in operation theatres in the hospitals as light waves have little effect on medical instruments.
4- It is also used in offices and homes for data transmission and internet browsing.
Pros of Li-Fi:
1- Speed: Light spectrum is nearly 10,000 times larger than the spectrum occupied by radio waves thereby carrying more information 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. It can transmit data at a rate of 224 GB per second.
2- Efficient and Cheaper: Li-Fi is more efficient and cheaper than Wi-Fi due to the nature of LED bulbs. It will save costs in homes and workplaces as it can work without electronic devices such as routers, modems, and so forth.
3- Security: Radio waves can be intercepted by people outside your network as they can pass through walls, compromising the security of your data. However, light can be stopped by opaque objects, making Li-Fi more secure than Wi-Fi. Additionally, some rooms can be designated as high-security areas with their own Li-Fi networks.
4- Availability: With Li-Fi, every light source can facilitate you with the internet. Once the technology is available to the general public, it can be accessed via street lights, building lights, and so forth.
Cons of Li-Fi:
1- Limited Range: As light cannot penetrate through walls, it is good with the security point of view but it provides a limited range. Thus, Li-Fi can be effectively used in closed spaces. In open spaces, Wi-Fi's coverage can go up to 32 meters as compared to Li-Fi.
2- Limited Compatibility: As technology is new, not many devices are compatible with it.
Importance of Li-Fi:
1- Year-over-Year, consumption of wireless data is increasing by 60%. This means that the radio-frequency space is becoming saturated and may lead to spectrum crunch-- lack of sufficient wireless frequency to support increasing consumers-- negatively impacting the speed of internet usage.
2- Li-Fi can be applied in traffic control systems using a car’s headlights or in chemical manufacturing plants where radio frequency is too dangerous.
3- With Li-Fi, the spectrum can be utilized more than 1000 times greater than the entire spectrum used for radio frequencies.
4- It provides more access points in comparison to Wi-Fi.
Thus, there's a need for Li-Fi as Wi-Fi won't be able to keep up with the increased demand for data and can be used in places where radio waves cannot reach.
History of Li-Fi:
In 2011, Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Harald Haas prompted about Li-Fi at TED Global Talk. Professor Haas is considered to be the founder of this technology. In September 2013, his company released the world's first commercially available Li-Fi technology.
Li-1st: World's first Li-Fi technology available in the market.
Li-Flame: It was introduced in February 2015 and is the first Li-Fi product allowing mobile wireless communications.
PureLiFi and Lucibel: World's first industrialized Li-Fi solution launched by French lighting company and is installed in multiple locations including Microsoft’s Paris Headquarter.
LiFi-XC system: It was released in October 2017. It is a plug and play system that works with USB devices and may be integrated into future laptops, tablet or smart appliances.
Sustainability of Li-Fi:
As Li-Fi can work without devices such as routers, modems, signal repeaters, wave ampLiFiers and antennas, it would not incur an extra cost. At present, Li-Fi cannot fully replace Wi-Fi as a connectivity source. However, with the increased consumer base and demand of fast internet access, it is predicted that the Li-Fi would be released to the general public in early 2022 and future homes and building may be housed with Li-Fi.
Li-Fi vs Wi-Fi
|Pointers||Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity)||Li-Fi (Light Fidelity)|
|Application||Internet browsing with the help of Wi-Fi hotspots.||Airlines, undersea explorations, operation theatres, offices and homes.|
|Coverage Distance||32 meters (varies based on transmit power and antenna type)||10 metres|
|Data Density||Less dense environments||High dense environments|
|Operation||Uses radio waves||Uses light sources|
|Privacy||Less secure||More secure|
It is to be noted that the Li-Fi market was valued at USD 143 million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 3.52 billion by the year 2025.