Emerging Evidence: An Introduction to Li-Fi

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Imagine if you could beam information with a flashlight, or download extra content from a movie, all through the miracle of projection.

Li-Fi, or Light Fidelity, apparently has the potential to disrupt the communications industry in the same way Wi-Fi did when it was first introduced. Li-Fi is a form of optical wireless communication through which a signal of information is transmitted using the visible, infrared and ultraviolet light spectrums. Its creator, Harald Haas, elaborates more on the subject in his recent TED Talk.

The interest around Li-Fi boils down to its ability to outperform traditional Wi-Fi. In a real-world test, Velmenni displayed the ability to transfer data using Li-Fi at a rate of 1 Gbps, approximately 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. In lab tests, speeds have reached a staggering 224 Gbps.

There are, however, those who question the validity and are busy pointing out drawbacks. As the technology makes use of artificial lighting, the ability to transfer data disappears if there are no lights in a given area. Another issue is the speed limitations set by Internet service providers. In addition, there has been no public testing on the true scale of the technology or potential problems arising from multiple devices using the same Li-Fi source.

Its limitations can actually be used to position it more dynamically. Don’t want your kids surfing the internet after they go to bed? Just turn off the lights. Li-Fi stands to be a very interesting communications solution, and we’re among those watching it.

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