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HomelatestMove over Wi-Fi, it’s Li-Fi that’s making waves in the internet ecosystem

Move over Wi-Fi, it’s Li-Fi that’s making waves in the internet ecosystem

An increasingly connected world does celebrate Wi-Fi Day, being mindful that it is Li-Fi that is making the waves.

Light fidelity, which does use light waves instead of radio waves to provide an internet connection, is promising to make significant inroads by reducing network congestion around the globe, which includes India.

For example, Wipro Lighting, a unit of Wipro’s consumer care business, has indeed begun offering this technology to Indian customers in partnership with PureLifi Scotland. One is offering LiFi (data through light) solutions for significantly greater security as well as safety and ultra-fast data transmission rates to deliver unprecedented low latency and reliability. This is to complement and also enhance existing cellular and wi-fi networks.

 Move over Wi-Fi, it’s Li-Fi that’s making waves in the internet ecosystem

In August 2018, PureLiFi did deploy its Li-Fi solutions at Kyle Academy secondary school in Ayr, Scotland. The project was conducted in collaboration with Edinburgh University and is indeed being overseen by the Scottish Futures Trust, which does support the Scottish government’s digital strategy. PureLiFi and the LiFi Research and Development Centre at Edinburgh University does provide the resources for the execution of the pilot with hands-on support and subsequent testing.

The installation of PureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system does comprise of eight LiFi-enabled LED light bulbs in the ceiling. Students were rather given access to LiFi-XC stations that do plug into their laptops enabling high-speed connectivity through the lights. Kyle Academy was the first school globally to pilot the technology in one’s classroom.

This June, at the International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, Air France, Latecoere and Ubisoft did showcase their Li-Fi technology making use of light to transmit data and ran an in-flight video game tournament showcasing this technology.

On 19 June, Signify announced that the launch of a new range of Li-Fi systems that do include the world’s fastest and most reliable Li-Fi systems commercially available. The range, branded Trulifi, leverages existing and future professional luminaries. Instead of using radio signals (such as Wi-Fi, 4G/5G, Bluetooth, etc.), Trulifi does make use of light waves to enable highly reliable, secure two-way wireless communications at speeds which are far above most conventional workplace wireless technologies.

The term Li-Fi was rather coined by Prof. Harald Haas, founder and chief scientist of pureLiFi, and also a professor of mobile communications at Edinburgh University. Li-Fi is a category of Optical Wireless Communications (OWC), which does include infrared and ultra-violet communications as well as visible light. However, Li-Fi is unique in that the same light energy used for illumination may also be used for communication.

Life does comprise multiple light bulbs to form a wireless network. When an electrical current is rather applied to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) is emitted from the bulb. As explained on the Purple-Fi website, LED bulbs are of course semi-conductor devices, implying that the brightness of the light flowing through them can be changed at extremely high speeds. This does indeed allow one to send a signal by modulating the light at different rates. The signal can then be received by a detector which does interpret the changes in light intensity (the signal) as data. The intensity modulation cannot indeed be seen by the human eye, and thus communication is just as seamless as other radio systems, thus allowing the users to be connected where there is Li-Fi enabled light. Making use of this technique, data can be transmitted from an LED light bulb at high speeds.

Signify’s Trulifi, for example, makes use of optical wireless transceiver technology built, or retrofitted, into Philips Luminaires, which does mean customers do not have to rip and replace their existing lighting infrastructure. The new range, according to a company statement, does provide wireless connectivity at speeds up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps) over large spaces such as meeting rooms as well as office floors and does allow for a seamless handover between each Trulifi-enabled luminaire. The speed is fast enough to stream simultaneously 30 1080p HDTV movies. A USB-access key plugged into a laptop, which is required to receive the LiFi signal and also acts as an emitter to send data back to the luminaire.

Trulifi underlines one’s strategy to unlock the potential of light to address new high-growth markets

There are indeed compelling reasons to use Li-Fi in conjunction with Wi-Fi. For one, with the increasing number of internet-connected devices in classrooms, installing Li-Fi alongside Wi-Fi can rather provide additional bandwidth to reduce network congestion, thus enabling students to stream educational videos and download resources with seamless connectivity. Second, Li-Fi has the capability to support big data, as well as technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Also, while there is 300 gigahertz of the radio spectrum, there is 300 terahertz of visible light spectrum. If one adds infrared spectrum to the visible light spectrum, it will be 2,600 times larger than the entire radio spectrum, Haas said at Mint’s flagship technology conference in 2017, thus adding that this spectrum is free.

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