LiFi Technology: Using Light to Transmit Wireless Data

Source: Social WiFi

Who would have imagined that we would get to a point where we use an ordinary light bulb to connect to the internet? It sounds like science fiction, to say the least. But we may get there sooner than we think. LiFi technology is to shuttle you into the future wireless data connectivity.

WiFi has become the most popular way of connecting devices to the internet. While very useful, it has portrayed a few limitations. Waves cannot pass through walls or large distances. They have also shown limited internet speed compared to wired connections.

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Li-Fi Logo: Data transmitted via illumination. Source: DREAMSTIME

LiFi has moved in with the determination to counter these disadvantages. It opts to utilize light to transmit information from one device to another thus allowing sharing of internet data instead of the same principle WiFi uses, the radio waves.  Herald Haas, a German inventor and the brain behind LiFi, assures consumers that they will soon get a taste of LiFi.

“I think it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. LiFi is a necessity and it will come.” He told Euronews. Haas’s company, Pure LiFi not long ago invented a USB dongle device that permits connection between tablets and laptops and the burgeoning technology.

Accessing Wireless Data through Light

Data through the light bulb: Credit Twitter
Data through the light bulb. Source: Twitter

LiFi is set to be the next big thing. It simply uses the normal LED light bulbs by attaching microchips to each other thus creating internet hotspots. Your devices can then send or receive signals sent via the light stream. The naked human eye cannot see these frequencies.

There are only two options available for getting the internet from the light source. They require conveying data signals through the same cable used by the power source light.

LiFi vs WiFi

With most of the barriers WiFi ID facing, should LiFi be able to counter them, it will allow more data to be transmitted wirelessly. LiFi supporters argue that it is more secure as its network is restricted to individual lights making hacking very difficult. Someone would have to be very close to hacking. WiFi is more prone to hacking yet it may still not be easy for users to detect them as it can be done from a longer distance.

LIFI BULB
LIFI BULB. Source: Odyssey

Security is definitely very important when it comes to wireless web access as more devices at home are connected to the internet with all kinds of information. Just last month, researchers said they had discovered a major security concern with WiFi as well as its authentication system.

Haas has noted that mobile data’s growth rate is at 60% a year following the fact that smartphones are now available everywhere. He said this while at a cybersecurity conference in Poland. LiFi also allows you to access internet even outside your home. Street lamps can even be used as internet hotspots.

The Other Side of the Coin

Haas says that the primary function of LiFi is to complement WiFi. Nevertheless, LiFi comes on board with its shortcomings as well. For one, LiFi requires the light source to be switched on for a device to access the internet. Most people switch on lights during the night and so having them on during the day could be sort of a waste of power.

In their defense, Haas responded by advising users to dim the lights during the day as one can still access the internet even with dim lights. Comparing the scenario to WiFi, a router has to be also permanently on so as to access the internet. With LiFi, you may also be forced to equip every room with the technology.

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LiFi APPLICATIONS. Source: sciencealert.com

“If you think of the internet of things coming we’ll have things like driverless cars and in order to make that autonomous system work, you need a lot of communication and sensing and a lot of connectivity to the environment. If you have a vulnerable wireless connection – where eavesdroppers can tap into a connection – it can basically take over the system. It’d be bad for social media but it would be even worse if they are linked to an autonomous system. Or if it’s machines or life-saving machines in a hospital.” said Haas.

While Haas and his team are still perfecting this technology, we have good reasons to presume that it has sufficient potential to become one of the major forces on the market very soon.

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