Wireless means of communication have become indispensable in our daily lives. We use it all day long without thinking about it. The use of these wireless means of communication have become at least as usual as the use of water and electricity. So we are increasingly dependent on technology that ensures that data is effectively transferred. Despite strong progress and innovation in this area, most systems have only a certain capacity. Radio waves have only a limited spectrum suitable for wireless data transmission.
Data is transmitted by means of electromagnetic waves (radio waves). This method is scarce and expensive. There will come a time when this technology will no longer be able to meet the demand for data transmission. In order to meet this need, we will have to start thinking about alternatives. For some, the solution to the problem comes from an unexpected source. What if we can use our LED lights to connect to the internet?
What is Li-Fi?
LED lights are able to send data using light. But how do LED lights do this? Light, like radio waves, is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum includes all the light from gamma radiation to radio waves. However, the light that is visible to us humans is a very small part of this spectrum. You can see this in the image below.
Li-Fi technology uses Visible Light Communication (VLC). VLC, in turn, uses visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit information. Li-Fi consists of several lights which form a wireless network. The bandwidth of Li-Fi is estimated to be more than 1000 times the size of the radio spectrum. Research has shown that Li-Fi is over 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. Today, Li-Fi can already reach speeds of 10 Gigabits per second. In this case, the LED lamp is the new router.
Li-Fi stems from four years of research in Scotland by Professor Harald Haas and should lead to wireless communication becoming part of LED lighting. In fact, any light-emitting object, such as a TV or lamp, may be used as a wireless Li-Fi hotspot.
How does a Li-Fi network work?
When an electrical current is applied to a LED light, a luminous flux (photons) is emitted from the light. LED lights are semiconductors, meaning that the brightness of the light flowing through it can be changed at extremely high speeds. This allows us to emit a signal by modulating the light at different speeds. The signal can then be received by a detector that translates the changes in light intensity (the signal) into data. The intensity modulation (the fast flickering of the light) is not visible to the human eye, so the communication is just as flawless as other radio systems, allowing the users to be connected to places where light with Li-Fi light is present.
This technique makes it possible to transmit data from an LED lamp at high speed. The potential of Li-Fi is far greater than we can imagine. Thus, light becomes a new intelligent language and can solve a number of challenges:
Speed & Bandwidth: Li-Fi is able to deliver data faster than conventional means of communication. This next-generation technology will wirelessly go beyond current capabilities.
Security: There is internet where there is light. The signals cannot pass through walls or other structures. Hackers therefore will not be able to penetrate your network from an external location.
Efficiency: Li-Fi works on the basis of visible light technology. For homes and businesses that use LED lighting, it can be truly cost- and energy-saving and enable interference-free communication.
It is not yet available for consumers to build a Li-Fi network. But we look forward to it with high expectations.