Harold Haas, a professor from the University of Edinburgh invented a super-fast alternative to Wi-Fi which uses light rays to transmit data. He named it Li-Fi which is basically an optical wireless network communication system. According to Haas, the future of the lightbulb is far brighter than what it may seem.
Every LED lightbulb could be used in the future to transmit data at an incredibly fast speed. “All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission,” Haas said.
How does it work?
Li-Fi works like a very fast signal lamp which flashed on and off to relay messages in binary code. During extensive lab experiments the technology showed the capability of transmitting data up to 224 gigabits per second. At this time, Wi-Fi is capable of reaching speeds of 600 megabits per second.
The Li-Fi network can be powered by Light Rays which can be either in the visual range or it can belong to the same Infrared (IR) or Ultraviolet (UV) region. So all you need to do is switch on the light source which can be a light bulb or a tube light. The coverage of the network is throughout the room so as far as the room is lit up, you will be receiving network.
Advantages of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi:
We are talking about exceedingly fast data transmissions. While lab tests have shown speeds of 224 gigabits per second, when Li-Fi was tested under real life conditions, the speed that was achieved was up to 1GB. Keeping wireless in mind, this is still amazingly fast.
Li-Fi does not really have any security mechanism like passwords or security questions. However, this should not deter you into thinking that it is not secure. The technology does not really require any security system because light cannot penetrate walls.
The availability of your network is limited to as far as light can travel from the source. So your neighbor will not be able to reach your network. This also keeps away hackers from penetrating your network.
On the other hand, Wi-Fi is not capable of the same amount of security. Even though passwords can be assigned to your Wi-Fi network, there is a possibility of hackers getting into the network. Li-Fi does away with this problem because it is not accessible from outside at all.
A continuous increase in the number of Wi-Fi users is gradually congesting the Wi-Fi network which can lead to deterioration in the transmission of data wirelessly. According to Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Forecast, the total amount of global monthly data usage is speculated to exceed 24.3 exabytes by 2019. This is an amount that wireless connections may not be able to handle.
With Li-Fi, the transmission of wireless data will not be limited to using Wi-Fi which means there will be lesser congestion.
Disadvantages of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi:
Li-Fi users will be limited when it comes to the area in which the network operates. So if you are using Li-Fi in a room, you will lose connection as soon as you step out of the room. For the successful implementation of this technology, this hurdle needs to be overcome.
Users are required to keep the light bulbs on so that they can use the network. This means that bulbs must be on in the day time as well leading to higher power consumption.
Ease of Use
If you enjoy playing games or watching videos on the internet while your room is dark, Li-Fi may not be the best option for you. Users who prefer the lights to be off while they surf the internet will not like Li-FI because it requires the light to work. Even dim lights may slow the network, so you will require bright lights for using the network.
Li-Fi has quite a few benefits but it also has certain limitations when it comes to data transmission. Implementation of this technology on a wider scale may take time. As we try to look for new ways to overcome the limitations of Li-Fi it can become one of the most used types of network in the future.