Li-Fi Technology

Li-Fi:

I remember a few years back i.e., 2012 at 2nd year of my Btech, BNS Manohar Came up with a PPT on Li-Fi Technology. That was the 1st time I heard about this technology. He said “Dude Li-Fi technology is advance level of Wi-Fi and I want to make others know this future technology by presenting it in Gitam University IEEE Fest. I want you to take my side and help me with this.” I said Yes.

We both started to know more about it and presented it at the fest. Surprisingly, we won 1st prize in that competition. There ends our fest, but urge to know about LI-FI technology was never dead till now.

Am happy to say that, I got enough information about this future technology and let me discuss every possible point on this.


What is Li-Fi? 

Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity and it is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system which runs wireless communications that travel at very high speeds. Wi-Fi and Li-Fi are two different things and cannot be compared with each other.

Internet access is fast becoming a basic human right, but there are problems with our current delivery systems. As we connect more and more devices to the internet, Bandwidth is equally distributed to all the devices due to that internet is slowing down. Li-Fi, which allows us to access the internet via light, instead of the radio frequencies that Wi-Fi relies upon, could open up a lot of bandwidth.

In Li-Fi, your LED Lightbulb is your router. It uses common household LED light bulbs to enable data transfer, boasting speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second which is way far better than wi-fi.

I’m not just presenting this technology as a possibility — it’s actually, already testing the new network in a real office. Icade, a French real estate investment firm, is one of the first companies in the world to use Li-Fi in order to provide their employees with broadband internet by way of LED lights.


How exactly we can use Li-Fi? 

Li-Fi and Wi-Fi are quite similar. Both transmit data electromagnetically. However, Wi-Fi uses radio waves, while Li-Fi runs on visible light waves. As we know, Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system.

This means that it accommodates a photo-detector to receive light signals and a signal processing element to convert the data into ‘streamable’ content. An LED light bulb is a semiconductor light source meaning that the constant current of electricity supplied to an LED light bulb can be dipped and dimmed, up and down at extremely high speeds, without being visible to the human eye.

Have a look at this video. They explained clearly what Li-Fi is


Li-Fi is Bi-Directional:

LiFi is a bidirectional wireless communications technology that allows high-speed transmission in both uplink and downlink simultaneously. Technology is evolving as well as connectivity.  Connected devices have forecasted the increase to 20 Billion IoT devices by the year 2020.

With LiFi, we can utilize spectrum more than 1000 times greater than the spectrum utilized for radio frequencies (Wi-Fi). LiFi is unlocking the new future. It is far better than WiFi in all aspects.

Tech Illustrations 1

LiFi is a category of Optical Wireless Communications (OWC). OWC includes infra-red and ultra-violet communications as well as visible light. However, LiFi is unique in that the same light energy used for illumination may also be used for communication.


Basic Questions that Li-Fi Technology has:

It was obvious that every new tech has a few questions to answer. Even this Li-Fi has the question. When I came to know about this technology, I have 2 very basic questions that am curious to know about. and later another question generated with the evolution of technology. At the time when I gave the presentation on this topic, I had many questions which ran in the head. But today due to the technology development, Li-Fi has cleared almost all the question that I had except three,

  1. Does Li-Fi work when LED lights turn Off?
  2. Does Li-Fi work in Bright rooms with Sun-Light?
  3. Li-Fi work from my pocket?

I got stuck with these three questions from the last few years. Now, I came to know the answers to these questions. Answers are not straight to the point but it gave us a little hope that It can be possible in the future. I know you are curious to know the answers to these questions. Here you go.

1. Does Li-Fi work when LED Lights turned Off?

Ans: A big NO. It’s not going to work when Lights turned off. If all power to the light turned off, there is no Li-Fi. However, LiFi technology can be enabled to dim low enough that a room will appear dark. There is consistent performance between 10 and 90 percent illumination.

Currently, this technology provides light levels down to 60 lux which is less than the British standard for minimum light level for reading which is 400 lux. Another option for using invisible parts of the light spectrum is infra-red, which is now being used for sending information back to the light bulb which is called an uplink.

2. Does Li-Fi work in Bright rooms with Sun-Light?

Ans: LiFi can operate in daylight and even in direct sunlight conditions, as the modulated light can still be detected LiFi. Not all LiFi modems have tested except few Li-Fi technology makers.

Li-Fi relies on detecting the fast changes in light intensity. LiFi technology modulates the light at very high rates and sunlight is constant light and therefore can be filtered out at the receiver.

3. Li-Fi work from my Pocket?

Ans: No LiFi does not work in your pocket unless you have a transparent suit. I know It funny but Still it’s true.

LiFi is a technology that works alongside other wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi. If the light signal to a LiFi enabled device below the receiver’s threshold then it will not receive data.

However, the moment the device begins to receive light from a LED bulb, the device will resume high-speed communications using light as an additional communications medium.


Benefits of LI-FI Technology:

It’s an era of Digital Technology, Li-Fi is the game changer. Soon it enters, soon it takes to the next level. Applications of Li-Fi is limitless. Where there is a LED bulb there is high-speed data. Li-FI Technology extends the capability of wireless communication beyond our thinking level.

After many years of research, the team of this technology developers listed big major benefits that LI-FI have. Here is the list.

  1. Secure
  2. No Interference
  3. Data Density
  4. Location Service
  5. Efficiency
  6. Smart Lighting

Benefits of Li-Fi Technologies

Let us know about each and the benefits clearly for our understanding.

1. Secure:

Light can be contained. It cannot pass through walls. It is very secured to the limited zone. This technology enables the additional control as data can be directed to one device to the another. It gave us a chance to monitor the data where it is going.

2. No Interference:

Radio Frequency technology such as Wi-Fi is vulnerable to interference from a wide range of device such as Wi-Fi Cordless phone, Neighboring Wi-Fi Signals. But LI-FI is an area of Illumination which means Inteferance is much simpler to avoid what Radio Frequency cannot do. This means Li-Fi can be used in RF hostile zones such as hospitals, power plants, and airplanes.

3. Data Density:

Li-Fi can achieve approximately 1000 times the Data Density of Wi-Fi offering per one Square Meter. Li-fi reduced the need for sharing the wireless bandwidth of other users.

4. Location Services:

Li-Fi Technology is fully functional & networked. Like Wi-Fi, each Li-Fi has a different IP Address.  Each Li-Fi enabled light consists of a unique IP address which means advanced geofencing can be implemented easily to this technology.

5. Efficiency:

Li-Fi allows repurposing of LED Light as it is used for both Light and Communication purpose. LED is already wide and hugely successful market.  now Li-Fi gave them another purpose, Connectivity.

6. Smart Lighting:

Any private or public lighting including street lamps can be used to provide LiFi hotspots, and the same communications infrastructure can be used to monitor and control lighting and data.


Rumor is, Li-Fi is going to implement in Future Smart Phones:

It’s already a rumor that future Smartphones are going to have a Li-Fi feature. Burchardt says “We are currently working on ways to reduce the size of the optical receiver so that it can fit in a smartphone”. and also explained “We are already in discussions with a number of manufacturers of smartphones, tablets, and laptops and the goal is to get to that stage where we’re developing chips that will go into the device, Our long-term goal is component supply for OEMs.”

This rumor becomes stronger and viral when they found IOS code supports for Li-Fi technology to implement in future iPhone Models. Apple is indeed working toward incorporating Li-Fi technology into its devices, it probably won’t be in the next iPhone Model. One of the team members from Apple said: “It’s impossible to say when Li-Fi will reach our smartphones, but Wi-Fi could soon go extinct if the tech succeeds.”


An Office in France testing Li-Fi Technology for the 1st time:

Now It’s time to talk about the real-time experiment of Li-Fi. We are moving one step closer to the future powered not by Wi-Fi, but by Li-Fi. One of the worlds big Light manufacturing company Phillip is into this technology. Philip is already got huge marketing in this world now they feel it’s time to take their business to the next level by giving us the best Li-Fi Supported Technology.

Phillip is already into the LED bulbs now they want to use their lights as a Li-Fi supported modem to transfer high-speed data. On the part of their experiment, they implemented this to one of the big company in France who is very much concerned about their employees.  Icade, a French real estate investment firm, is one of the first companies in the world to use Li-Fi in order to provide its employees with broadband internet by way of lights.

Olivia Qiu, chief innovation officer at Philips Lighting, said in a statement. “While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of an Internet of Things devices. Being a lighting company, we ensure that our customers benefit from the finest quality energy efficient light along with state-of-the-art connectivity.”


Application of Li-Fi:

As we discussed earlier, Application of Li-fi is limitless. Where there is a LED Bulb there is high-speed data. This technology advanced the wifi communication which we can’t even imagine. Out of my research, I have found 3 most common areas where this technology is useful. Here are they.

Applications-of-LiFi

1. Military: Unlike Wifi, Li-Fi is limited to the short range and also secured. This allows them to have their conversations or Files safe and secure as there is no chance for hackers to hack them. Not only this, but Li-Fi can also be used in remote areas like Rajasthan Border, where there is no chance for wifi to get connected. Just a Simple LED Light in their military base can use for data transmission.

2. Traffic Lights: Li-Fi can be used to provide drivers with traffic and weather updates as they wait at the traffic lights. This also eliminates the problem of getting critical traffic updates to drivers who are already on the road.

3. Underwater Communication: Traditional Wi-Fi cannot be used underwater because radio waves get absorbed by the water. On other hands, we have Li-Fi technology which can penetrate through water. Hence this can be used for Underwater Communication


Pros and Cons of Li-Fi Technology:

Every technology has its own Pros and Cons. Even Li-Fi has. But comparing to the old days, there are many changes happened in between and now there is an equal number of pros and cons. Previously, Disadvantages list dominated the list of Advantages. Let us discuss those pros and cons briefly.

Pros-and-Cons

Pros: 

  1. Speed
  2. Security
  3. Accessibility
  4. Data Safety

Cons:

  1. Range
  2. Other Light Source
  3. Night Problems
Let us dive deep into the pros oF Li-Fi Technology in detail

1. Speed: One of the best that we can discuss. Speed is the biggest advantage of Li-Fi. The only difference between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi is Speed. We can say it as Godspeed. Giving the word ‘Fast’ a completely new meaning. Its so far measured to be about 1000 times faster than WiFi implementations, Its reaching speeds of Li-Fi is 224 Gbps per second.

2. Security: Li-Fi is known for its security, Although LiFi signals cannot pass through walls, it does make the data stream immediately more secure, as the data cannot be intercepted without the clear line of sight. Also, technology eliminates neighboring network interference.

3. Accessibility: Where there is a LED Bulb they is Li-Fi Accessibility. In this modern era, 40% of houses are with LED bulb and with awareness, we can increase the number up to 70%. LED Bulb is the only best source for Li-Fi accessibility.

4. Data Safety: As it is a limited range of data transmission it is hard for hackers to get into the safety breaches of L-Fi. and as we discussed, every LED bulb Carry its own IP Address it’s definitely a difficult task for hackers to get data from us. It also avoids network interference from neighbors houses.

Now, Let us dig deep into the cons of Li-Fi Technology in detail

1. Range:  Issue with Li-Fi is it cannot passes through the wall as wifi does. This will be the main disadvantage of this technology. Not only this, If anything blocked LED bulb, there will the Interruption in data transmission

2. Other Light Source: This should be considered a serious problem. If you are in an open area there is a fair chance of an interruption in data transmission. The LED light cannot dominate sunlight at daytime. So this will be a serious problem in Li-Fi Technology

3. Night Problems:  As we know data is transmitted only when the light is On, there will be no chance of data transmission when the light got off. You cannot play your favorite game at nights by turning off the lights. Researcher says LiFi even works in IR rays but this will reduce the speed because high infrared rays affect our skin. So, researchers use low-intensity IR ray.


Final Words:

Li-Fi is one of the best technology that I ever came across. This will be surely a big game changer in this IT world. It’s not possible to say that Wi-Fi gonna lose its importance soon after Li-Fi entry because of its advantages. But when Li-Fi able to cleared the disadvantages it has Wi-Fi will no more in this field. But this is too early to say Wi-Fi is going to die. Based on some research, Li-Fi takes more than 5-6 years to come into life and it will take minimum 3-4 years to kill Wi-Fi. Soon we gonna see the Li-Fi occupying maximum market share in 10 years from now.

That’s all I had on this topic. I have discussed all the possible points that I researched on this technology.  If anything I found new on this topic will be updated as a new blog post. Let me know If I left anything to share in the comment box.

This is Vishnu
Signing Off

Vishnu Vardhan Written by:

Hey!! Vishnu here from Vishakapatanam State of Andhra Pradesh. Am an Entrepreneur, Animation Designer, and Digital Marketing Expert.