LiFi (Light Fidelity) is a wireless communication technology that transmits data using visible light at an extremely high speed. It shares some features with the existing WiFi technology, but it also has significant differences.
To put it another way, LiFi works by utilising visible light, such as that emitted by a regular lamp or bulb!
Lifi has recently garnered a lot of attention as various companies have emerged in this space. The Lifi market is projected to grow to 115 billion in 2022 and register a 11.8 % gain by 2026.
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How does Li Fi work?
Because both LiFi and WiFi transmit data through electromagnetic waves, they are very similar. WiFi is powered by radio waves, whereas LiFi is powered by visible light.
This means it has a photodetector for receiving light signals and a signal processing element for converting the data into streamable content.
An LED light bulb is a semiconductor light source, which means the constant current of electricity supplied to it can be lowered at extremely high speeds without being visible to the naked eye.
For instance, data is fed into a signal-processing LED light bulb, which then passes data (present inside its beam) to the photo-detector at high speeds (photodiode).
The ‘receiver’ converts the minute variations in the LED bulbs into an electrical signal.
The signal is then converted to a binary data stream, which could be seen, heard or interacted with in an audio or video application on a mobile phone or laptop.
WiFi vs. LiFi: What’s the Difference?
While some may believe that Li-Fi’s 224 gigabits-per-second outperforms Wi-Fi, Li- Fi’s reliance on visible light could prevent widespread adoption.
Because Li-Fi signals cannot pass through walls, you’ll need to install capable LED bulbs throughout your home to get full connectivity. Furthermore, Li-Fi requires that the lightbulb be turned on at all times in order to provide connectivity, which means that the lights will have to be turned on during the day.
Furthermore, where there aren’t enough light bulbs, there isn’t enough LiFi internet, so LiFi suffers in public Wi-Fi networks.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Because of its high speeds, LiFi could have a significant impact on the internet of things, allowing data to be transferred at much higher rates and allowing even more devices to connect.
Furthermore, LiFi is more secure than WiFi due to its shorter range, and embedded light beams reflected off a surface have been reported to reach 70 megabits per second.
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Advantages of Lifi technology
In terms of wireless Internet connectivity, LiFi offers many never-before-seen benefits for adoption and use.LiFi communicates using visible light, which is beneficial in more ways than one. These waves can carry significantly more data than the traditional radio waves used in WiFi technology.
The visible light spectrum is nearly 10,000 times larger than the radio wave spectrum. Furthermore, LiFi is said to increase bandwidth by a factor of 100 over what we currently have with WiFi.
Data can be transmitted at a rate of 224 gigabytes per second over a LiFi connection. In electromagnetically sensitive areas such as hospitals, airplane cabins, and nuclear power plants, LiFi is also preferable (where electromagnetic disturbance can be disastrous).
Lifi technology in India is all set to make huge strides, with India’s highest altitude educational institute in Ladakh getting Lifi technology for faster internet a few months back.
Disadvantages of LiFi technology
A LiFi has some drawbacks in addition to all of these advantages. LiFi would be of no use in places where light is not available as it requires a visible source of light to transmit data. Thus, it may be difficult for a person to use a Li Fi connection at night.
Even connecting multiple devices with Lifi from a distance may not be possible as there is no router that can be installed for its use. Because light is impermeable through solid substances, li fi requires you to be in close proximity to the source of connection. This may not be a convenient option for many people.
This technology is also said to be less dependable (due to its reliance on visible light) and to come with high installation costs.
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What is the future of LiFi?
There’s no doubt that LiFi will change the way people connect to the Internet. A likely scenario exists where we will eventually have access to a wide range of technologies and will be able to choose the most appropriate one.
We believe that having that flexibility is the most desirable scenario. In India, various companies as well as Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) have started using Light Fidelity (Lifi) technology for their school.
Li-Fi is being developed into a ubiquitous systems technology that consists of application-specific combinations of light transmitters, light receivers, including solar cells, efficient computational algorithms, and networking capabilities that can be used in a variety of communication scenarios and device platforms.
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