Li-Fi Uses Light to Transfer Data at Speeds of 1GBps Securely, More Efficient than Wi-Fi

Li-Fi is a new wireless data transfer technology that is faster and more secure than the current Wi-Fi tech. It is claimed to support data transfers of up to 1GBps.

The claimed speed is up to 100 times faster than today’s Wi-Fi tech. It could prove useful for offices that needs a secure and fast network for transferring and sending files.

Start-up Velmenni already started trials for the Li-Fi tech in Tallinn offices. However, there is no word yet on possible bugs and such that could hinder the development of the project.

Wireless Transmission of Data via Light

Instead of using radio waves like Wi-Fi does, Li-Fi utilizes light, hence the name. Information is beamed through the light in the air. The concept comes from how fibre optic cables work. Light travels fast from one end of the cable to the other, sending and receiving bytes of data in a fraction of a second.

One problem that Li-Fi tackled is how to “guide” the light that delivers information through the air. Cables do the job perfectly as the light would only go back and forth.

Li-Fi uses flickering LED lights that can rapidly transmit the data from and to supported devices. The frequency of the data transmission is between 400 and 800 terahertz.

How does Li-Fi work with the flickering of lights? Just like morse-code, the receiver would understand the data based on the patterns created by the lights. It takes a couple of seconds or minutes to get a complete sentence off of morse-code transmission. With the Visible Light Communication (VLC) process, the flickering is so fast that megabytes of data are transferred instantaneously.

Li-Fi Demonstrated

Li-Fi took several years before it came to the point where it is near commercialization. Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh demonstrated the VLC in his TED talk in 2011, according to the Telegraph.

Professor Haas explained that the concept of Li-Fi is very similar to how remote controls work. The Infrared waves, which can only be used in low power due to safety reasons, only transmit a single data stream. That’s why it’s used to switch a TV on or off, change channels, increase or decrease the volume and more. However, the commands are only sent one at a time.

In contrast, the LED light bulbs could transfer thousands of data streams at a much faster rate than Infrared. Professor Haas further explained that the light bulb sends an electrical signal that is then converted back into high speed data stream for a computer to understand and interpret in real time.

There was also a demonstration of the technology using a modified desk lamp, which was fitted with a $3 LED light bulb. It was placed on top of a tall table with a hole were the light bulb was positioned.

Underneath the hole is a receiver that interprets the data coming from the light bulb. When the light was turned on, a high-definition video suddenly appeared on screen. The video also stops playing when the light is blocked, demonstrating that the light was transferring the video stream.