LiFi Technology GenXtra Communications

LiFi technology allows internet connectivity through light. Li-Fi is an abbreviation for “light fidelity”. LiFi technology is a bi-directional wireless system that transmits data via LED or infrared light. “LiFi” is similar to the ubiquitous term WiFI which means “wireless fidelity”.

LiFi technology uses similar wireless 802.11 protocols, but it also uses ultraviolet, infrared and visible light communication. Similar to radio waves, these are part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

LiFi technology was first unveiled August 2, 2011 in a TEDTalk presentation by Professor Harald Haas. One concern he discussed was the efficiency and limitations of the radio frequency spectrum. With Li-Fi, the technology only needs a light source with a chip to transmit an internet signal through light waves.

As the demand for cellular (Radio Frequency Towers) connectivity and WiFi connectivity are nearly reaching their limits to this ever-growing demand, the visible light spectrum offers 10,000 times more capacity.

Combine visible light spectrum with LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs and the possibilities are endless. Radio waves have served us well for more than a century. However, we have run into some major issues regarding security, reliability and performance of internet communications that depend on radio waves alone.

Harold Haas, The Father of LiFi.

Harald Haas has spent more than two decades on his research into wireless communications and Visible Light Communications (VLC) technologies and has authored and published numerous papers on the subject matter.

Throughout his 20 years, he published over 300 conference and journal articles including papers in a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and one of the world’s top academic journals.

Harold Haas has also co-authored two textbooks, including one entitled Principles of LED Light Communications Towards Networked LiFi, a book that was published by the Cambridge University Press in 2015. He currently holds a position as editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications and IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technologies.

He received the best paper award at the International Symposium on Personal, Indoor, and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC) in 1999 and has continued to receive various accolades throughout his research career.

In 2001, he was awarded an honorary fellowship at the University of Edinburgh and was given the honorary title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE).

Dr. Harald Haas has also been a well-celebrated innovator and pioneer in several technologies. He currently holds 31 patents for his inventions and has more than 30 pending patent applications, all in the field of wireless communications.

What Is LiFi Technology?

The theory behind LiFi technology is to enable internet connections from desk lamps, office lighting, outdoor streetlights and even LED appliances like LED televisions. In addition to being cheaper, greener energy efficient, more secure and faster than wifi, it does not need a router.

All you would need to do is point your mobile phone or other mobile device towards a Li-Fi light bulb to surf the web.

LiFi technology is a bi-directional wireless system that transmits data via LED or infrared light. 

This is an extraordinary advance when compared to today’s wireless networks. Li-Fi can multiply the speed and bandwidth of WiFi, 3G and 4G.  As we all know and have experienced ourselves, WiFi, 3G and 4G have a limited capacity and become saturated depending on the number of users. The more users equates to a reduction in speeds and even connection interruptions.

LiFi technology operates on the frequency band of 200,000 GHz (GigaHertz), versus the maximum of five (5) GHz of WiFi. A 2017 study by the University of Eindhoven obtained a download rate of 42.8 Gbit/s (GigaBits per second) with infrared light with a radius of 2.5 metres (8.20 feet). During this same test, the best WiFi could barely reach 300 Mbit/s (MegaBits per second).

LiFi and Connectivity Demand

In a 2022 study DataReportal reported over 4.95 billion active internet users. Another study from May 27, 2022, estimated that there were more than 9 billion WiFi devices in the world at the time of the study.

Other studies have demonstrated that 82% of people check their phones while shopping in-store, and most of the time, it’s to check reviews of products before they purchase them.

96% of people prefer to shop at a business that offers free WiFi over a business that doesn’t.

47% of people use public Wi-Fi to cut down on cellular data usage while they’re away from home.

WiFi is essential to our daily lives, especially considering our mobile devices. 71% of all mobile device communications are done over WiFi.

We have begun to see LiFi technology/WiFi hybrid experimental systems in research projects. These hybrid models demonstrate that an internet infrastructure that supports WiFi connectivity (and WiFi) does make a difference.

Hence, considering these statistics and the fact that there is no existing LiFi Internet infrastructure, we don’t believe that LiFi technology will replace WiFi completely anytime soon. However, it can certainly complement existing WiFi infrastructures.

The Future of LiFi

When you understand the internet infrastructure and the many components and layers, such as the physical hardware layer, transmission media layer, protocol stack and the various softwares used to interconnect computers and users via the Internet, you can begin to understand the scale, as well as the limitation of the current infrastructure.

Thinking of the internet as a “utility”, you then see the magnitude of the internet infrastructure and its responsibilities such as cloud based communication systems, data hosting, storing and processing, as well as the serving of the information that makes up websites, applications, content, UCaaS, CCaaS, and so much more.

Factoring for any form of wireless communications and the need for a robust infrastructure to function properly and serve their intended purposes, LiFi technology and Li-Fi systems can do just that.

While we run out of radio frequency spectrum, there is in fact a need for an additional internet infrastructure that could be tailored to Li-Fi devices and Li-Fi connectivity.

We are going to continue the study of LiFi technology and we believe that in the years to come, we will see the rise and deployment of a new LiFi internet Infrastructures that will be tailored to LiFi systems functionalities and possibly even universal LiFi compatibility. Contact us for more information.

GenXtra Communications, we’re here to help.

Li-Fi technology has shown promise in various applications, such as indoor environments where there is a need for high data rates and security. As the research and development of Li-Fi technology continues, we see the possibility in areas such as healthcare, sustainability, smart lighting, and industrial automation.

We predict that LiFi technology is perhaps the biggest disruptive technology on the horizon, it’s a major generational change to the internet infrastructure and will be one of the ways to encourage the adoption of next generation technologies and reduce energy consumption on a mass market level.

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