‘We are running out of spectrum’
– Harald Haas
I first read about LiFi in an article a few weeks ago, and at first I thought it was just another one of those over-hyped things. But LiFi is for real, and a technology work keeping an eye on, literally.
LiFi is considered a WiFi alternative, complement or replacement, with it’s own pro’s and con’s. It works by using visible light for communication (LED light to be specific), flickering at a rate the human eye wouldn’t detect. The first obvious problem is just that, in the current state it cannot communicate through structures that doesn’t allow light to penetrate. For those worried about the light itself, it can be dimmed down to a level where it seems like the light is off. While the wall situation might seem like a problem, Harald Haas (the inventor of LiFi) argues it could be a benefit,- as we can securely manage data by simply making sure the communication area doesn’t let the light escape.
However besides that discussion, it does have some major upsides,- and I’d say that the biggest one seems to be that it is cost effective and could allow wireless communication in countries and places were there aren’t or it is restricted due to to financial means. It is also rather fast (in the lab they managed to get 50mbit/s transmission with an off the shelf LED light he mentions in the video. Other sources claim higher speeds). It can also be used in electromagnetic sensitive areas, making those working in a nuclear power-plant terrible happy 😉 Joke aside, there are plenty of places where you wouldn’t want the WiFi part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Nobody explains this better than Harald Haas (the person considered to be the inventor of this technology). Watch the videos below: