Goodbye, Wi-Fi! Li-Fi Just Got Tested And It’s 100 Times Faster!
Things are going to get very interesting in the coming months. The way we access internet can completely change forever. Well, that’s what scientists are telling us anyway. Remember this word – ‘Li-Fi’; it’s going to be used very often soon enough. What is it you ask? Li-Fi is a wireless technology that transmits high-speed (insanely high-speed) data using visible light communication, or VLC. So imagine switching on a bulb in your room, and it’ll not only be a source of light, but will also transmit wireless internet to your phones and other devices. Madness, I tell you.
Scientists claim that they are achieving speeds of up to 224 gigabytes per second in the lab using Li-Fi earlier this year. This would mean a revolution in the world of videos. Now, scientists have taken Li-Fi out of the lab for the first time, testing it in offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia. They are claiming that they can achieve speeds of up to 1 Gb per second at a work environment. Just to put that into perspective, that is 100 times faster than the average Wi-Fi speeds that we currently have around the world.
The technology uses Visible Light Communication (VLC), a medium that uses visible light between 400 and 800 terahertz (THz). It works basically like an incredibly advanced form of Morse code – just like switching a torch on and off according to a certain pattern can relay a secret message, flicking an LED on and off at extreme speeds can be used to write and transmit things in binary code.
“We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilise the VLC (visible light communication) technology,” Deepak Solanki, CEO of Estonian tech company, Velmenni, told IBTimes UK.
“Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the Internet in their office space.”
Invented by Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland back in 2011, Haas demonstrated how the flickering light from a single LED could transmit far more data than a cellular tower! 224 gigabytes per second! 18 movies of 1.5 GB each getting downloaded every second. Hmm, not bad eh?
There are more positives than just speed. Think about it, because light cannot pass through walls, you don’t have to worry about your pesky neighbour trying to hack into your internet and stealing data. It’s a lot more secure. Experts, however, don’t feel that this will phase out Wi-Fi. Instead, the two technologies could be used together to achieve more efficient and secure networks.
“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. “In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener, and even brighter future.” If this technology does pan out, and it comes to India, it would mean everyone who has an LED light bulb would have access to the internet.
Watch Haas’s TED talk explaining the technology, right here.