Li-Fi: Lighting up the Internet
Li-Fi wireless Internet technology is safer, faster and poses fewer health concerns than Wi-Fi, making it a serious contender to challenge the dominance of Wi-Fi as the industry standard for wireless connectivity.
How does it work?Li-Fi is a type of communications
technology, which uses LED light to transmit data. When such light
passes through an electric current, LED lighting generates a
shimmering phenomenon that is invisible to the naked eye, and which
can be transformed into a sequence of zeros and ones - sort of "optic
Morse code". This allows it to be used as a means of transmitting
Li-Fi is often lazily compared to
Visible Light Communication (VLC), a technology that uses normal
light. VLC has been around for many years but it only offers
low-speed, unidirectional connection (a downstream rate). It is used
with indoor global positioning applications in stores or museums, for
As for Li-Fi, it offers a high-speed,
bidirectional connection of up to 42Mb/s. The light enters the
electronic part of the device creating an access point. Users need a
USB key to obtain a connection. This type of technology, which was
available only in prototype form three or four years ago, can now be
produced on an industrial scale.
What are the benefits of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi?Li-Fi can compete with wireless
connections that are made via radio waves such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or
Zigbee in many ways. Firstly, when comes to secure data sharing:
Light waves are confined to one room and do not travel through walls,
unlike radio waves. Right now you can pick up your neighbour's
Wi-Fi signal from your own home - with Li-Fi, this is not the case.
Li-Fi can also be deployed in
sensitive environments such as hospitals, where Wi-Fi cannot due to
the risk that it can cause interference with Magnetic Resonance
Imaging (MRI) machines and other scanners.
Furthermore, electromagnetic waves
can be dangerous for our health. In France, the Abeille Law bans
the installation of Wi-Fi access points in daycare centres and
nursery schools for children under three years old. Light, however,
How is this type of technology currently being used?Primarily, it is being used in the
B2B arena. Li-Fi guarantees confidential communications in vital
sectors such as finance and banking, defence and R&D. It offers a
secure type of Internet access in spaces such as meeting rooms.
On the other hand, Li-Fi can also be
used in areas where there is a particularly high density of users,
such as airports, hotels and conference centres. A Li-Fi light
guarantees a connectivity zone of 4 to 5m², which can accommodate up
to eight users.
Finally, Li-Fi allows communication
between connected objects, offering more security and faster
connection speeds. Being an agnostic type of technology, Li-Fi is
compatible with all types of telecommunications operator.