Sign in

The Future of Wireless Communication: Light Fidelity (LiFi)

ashwini bakhade
The Future of Wireless Communication: Light Fidelity (LiFi)

Light Fidelity or LiFi as it is commonly known has the potential to revolutionize wireless communication. By using visible light communication (VLC) technology, it can deliver faster wireless internet speeds than current WiFi networks. Let's explore more about this promising technology.

What is LiFi?

LiFi is a wireless optical networking technology that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for data transmission. Much like WiFi which uses radio waves, LiFi uses visible light communication between LED bulbs and photodetectors for networking purposes. Data is transmitted through the LED bulbs by switching them on and off rapidly which is undetectable to the human eye. Nearby devices can detect these signals using photo receivers.

Compared to traditional WiFi, LiFi has several advantages. It provides significantly higher speeds, has wider spectrum availability, and is more secure. Most importantly, it doesn't interfere with other wireless networks. LiFi also complements existing WiFi networks and can deliver internet connectivity in places where WiFi signals cannot reach like hospitals, aircrafts, and underwater.

History and Development

The concept of LiFi was pioneered by German physicist Harald Light Fidelity Haas from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. He demonstrated that by embedding a photodiode into a mobile phone and connecting it to a LED lamp controller, internet browsing was possible through a beam of light. Since then, global technology giants like Facebook, Samsung, and Philips have invested heavily to commercialize this technology.

In 2013, Haas founded pureLiFi company to further develop and commercialize LiFi products. In 2016, Estonian company Velmenni announced the world's first LiFi-enabled smartphones and laptops. In 2018, pureLiFi demonstrated download speeds of over 150 Mbps in a lab environment. Around the same time, Samsung partnered with pureLiFi to include LiFi chips in its future smartphones and TVs.

Today, LiFi industry partnerships are actively working to roll out this technology across various sectors including automotive, robotics, aviation, retail, and more. Several universities have also initiated research programs focused on improving the speed, security, and capabilities of LiFi networks.

How Does LiFi Work?

At the core of every LiFi system are LED lights which act as transducers to transmit internet signals over visible light spectrum. These LED bulbs are equipped with special LiFi chips that help in modulating data onto light waves using advanced modulation techniques such as orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM).

A LiFi-enabled device like a smartphone or laptop has a photosensor (such as a photodiode) that can detect these light signals. Special software decodes the data transmitted through rapid variations in the light intensity, thus providing internet access. The photosensor converts light pulses into electrical signals that are then processed by a LiFi receiver chip to recover the original digital information.

LiFi systems leveraging VLC technology provide full-duplex communication - data can be transmitted in both directions simultaneously. This bidirectional communication is achieved through frequency division since downlink transmission uses a different frequency than uplink transmission. Advanced techniques also ensure that LiFi signals don't interfere with light from other sources like sunlight or ambient room light.

Future Applications and Potentials

With theoretical speeds exceeding gigabits per second, LiFi is expected to play a crucial role in next-generation 5G and 6G networks as an accompaniment to WiFi. Some key use cases where LiFi could make an impact are:

- Smart Homes and Offices: Embedded LiFi in lighting infrastructure can offer seamless and wireless connectivity to a plethora of IoT devices.

- Automotive: In-vehicle LiFi allows high-speed internet access and enables functions like autonomous driving through V2X communication.

- Aircrafts: LiFi can deliver wireless connectivity to passengers on flights safely and securely through cabin LED lighting.

- Underwater Communications: LiFi is highly suitable for underwater wireless as it avoids signal interference unlike radio waves.

- Streetlights and Traffic Management: Intelligent transportation systems could leverage LiFi from streetlights for connectivity solutions.

- Industrial Automation: LiFi is ideal for mission-critical applications due to its high security and lack of electromagnetic interference.

- Augmented and Virtual Reality: Next-gen AR/VR headsets may use LiFi for fast, high-bandwidth data transmission from base stations.

With the continued expansion of wireless data traffic, the limited and congested radio spectrum is no longer sufficient. As an alternative wireless technology, LiFi promises to augment and complement existing WiFi networks. With advancements in hardware and software, LiFi adoption is likely to accelerate rapidly across multiple industries in the coming years. Though WiFi will continue to dominate for a while, LiFi clearly presents an optimistic vision of an all-optical and fully connected future.


Get more insights on – Light Fidelity

ashwini bakhade
Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more