What you need to know about Li-fi

LED Lights

Recently there’s been a buzz about li-fi, the cousin of wi-fi that’s supposed to be 10 times faster. (Some sites say a 100 times, but one of the groups working on it, pureLiFi, says 10.)

What’s the difference? Well, wi-fi uses radio frequency to transmit bits and bytes. Li-fi just moves down the electromagnetic spectrum a bit. You see, li-fi uses visible light to transmit data.

Before you ask anymore, I’ll let Harald Haas, one of li-fi’s pioneers, explain.

As you’ve probably realised by now, there’s a small problem with li-fi. It doesn’t work in direct sunlight. Which means the outdoors. Yes, it works at night (assuming streetlamps will dispense li-fi), but that’s only half of the day, and that’s the half in which most people like to sleep.

So it doesn’t look like li-fi can usurp wi-fi’s role. Not yet, anyway. But I think it shouldn’t. I think that they should be used in tandem.

Let me explain. There are some places where wi-fi is better suited, like the outdoors. It also can pass through walls, so that might be helpful. Li-fi is better suited for areas where its the primary light source and the space is open enough for light to reach everyone.

Now, where would that be?

Subways. MRT. They fit the description. Lots of artificial light in an open area. Also, morning commuters always like to know what’s happened since they went to bed. Its the perfect place for li-fi to be used.

Li-fi creates new possibilities for the future. Population dense countries like Monaco and Singapore could build in a new direction: down. How? Two facts. The underground needs lots of light. Also, radio waves don’t pass through concrete very well. So no wi-fi. However, you still need light. Which means you can get li-fi instead.

Li-fi could change how schools/homes function. No light means no Internet. Maybe only certain areas will have li-fi bulbs, like computer labs in schools, or the study at home. Parents and teachers will certainly have an easier time regulating children’s use of the Internet.

So now the question is, “when will it come out?” According to Haas, in two to three years. There are also several other companies working to bring li-fi to the world.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll be excited when it finally comes out.

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