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Li-Fi: Using Light to Transmit Data

Jan. 23, 2018
Jason Spang, lighting project manager for Werner Electric Supply, Appleton, WI, has an interesting take on Li-Fi.

Wi-Fi has become a fundamental part of our everyday lives, taking the data-transfer industry by storm since the 1990s. Most of us don’t even think about our Wi-Fi until we need to reset the modem or it slows down. Now, there’s a new solution for data transfer and all you need to do is turn on the lights.

Light Fidelity, otherwise known as Li-Fi, is a visible light communications (VLC) system. This means your common household LED (light-emitting diodes) light bulbs can now run your internet at the speed of light, boosting speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second when compared to Wi-Fi, which runs through radio waves, or at the speed of sound. This means that wherever you have a light on, you can have your internet devices on and be connected to ultra-fast internet. This new technology isn’t far off in the future either. Werner Electric Supply is one electrical supplier that is gearing up for this new technology.

Increased connectivity speeds, like what Li-Fi provides are critical, as connected devices are forecasted to increase to 20 billion users by the year 2020. This new technology is helping businesses and technology users alike, prepare for the needs of the future.

If you want to get technical, here’s how it all breaks down. Li-Fi allows data to be transmitted by fine-tuning the intensity of light. That light is then received by a photo-sensitive detector, where the light signal is turned into electronic form. All of this transforming and transmitting is undetectable to the human eye, but results in a faster, more secure connection.

Another key advantage to Li-Fi is that it is more secure than Wi-Fi, and in this digital age, all businesses understand the danger of online breaches and improving cybersecurity.

There’s also no interference with Li-Fi like there can be with radio frequency technology. Wi-Fi is vulnerable to interference from a wide range of devices, such as phones, microwaves and neighboring Wi-Fi networks. Li-Fi is not at risk of being interrupted by any of these devices.

On the downside, unlike the radio waves used in Wi-Fi, light cannot travel through walls, which means Li-Fi is contained to a single space. And when the light is off, it’s not transmitting a Li-Fi signal and when the light is on, it transmits signal only to the area where the light is shining.

 The future is constantly changing and technology is only improving so get ready to improve your internet and make your searching capabilities faster and more secure.