How’s your WiFi today? Fast and reliable? Maybe it’s being slowed down by the number of people on your router, or even the number of routers attached to the same fiber-optics. Did you know that multiple routers broadcasting around each other can actually slow each other down?
A brand new technology being tested now could do away with all these problems.
Light Fidelity, being abbreviated as LiFi, is a wireless communication technology utilizing a wholly different wavelength of light than our standard WiFi and radio systems. Using frequencies within the visible light spectrum, LiFi is already capable of transmitting data at 1 gigabyte per second, 100 times faster than standard WiFi. In lab conditions, it has reached up to 240 gigabytes, the equivalent of downloading 2 dozen HD movies, per second.
The existing WiFi technology is theoretically capable of such speeds. However, the routers which broadcast this radio signal use nearly 95% of their power to cool the hardware.
The new technology works through LED lights that transmit data by pulsing on and off thousands of times per second. This speed is far too fast for the human eye to see, instead appearing as normal constant light source. The inventor of this technology, German physicist Harald Haas speculated an environment where, “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.”
One condition of Light Fidelity is being touted by some as a severe limitation and others a clear advantage. While WiFi can pass through rooms with its radio signals, because LiFi operates in the visible light spectrum, it is unable to pass through solid objects. It is therefore limited to the one room where the light source is emitting. A limitation to be sure, but one that many are selling as a much more secure form of wireless data transmission.
Because of this condition, it will likely be implemented in tandem with existing data transmission technologies.
According to an article at The Stack, “Airlines, the oil industry and intelligence bodies have already shown interest in the technology due to its potential for secure wireless data transfers.” PureLiFi, the company co-founded by Professor Harald Haas, is now valued at GBP14 million, and the technology is expected to grow to nearly USD 9 billion by 2020.
Should this new market grow as expected, as was said by Professor Haas in a 2011 TED Talk, “In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion LiFis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future.”