What is LiFi?
Li-Fi (short for light fidelity) is a technology for wireless communication between devices using visible light spectrum, infrared light, or ultraviolet light, using LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Li-Fi is a "Visible Light Communications (VLC) system that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds.
LiFi technology is similar to Wi-Fi. The key technical difference is that Wi-Fi uses radio frequency to transmit data. Using light to transmit data enables LiFi to offer several advantages. LiFi is not prone to electromagnetic interference, so it is safer in applications such as hospital communications, aircraft, utility company facilities, etc. In addition, light spectrum is free; no government regulatory licensing is required, as with some radio frequency devices. Furthermore, light spectrum is abundant and available for use. The visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum. Lastly, LiFi is inherently more secure than Wi-Fi, since it is a point to point technology and does not radiate further than its intended target.
LiFi, like Wi-Fi, enables devices such as computers, smartphones, and printers, televisions, speakers, headphones, and a vast number of devices under the Internet of Things (IOT) umbrella, to communicate bi-directionally without the use of radio frequency waves and without interference.
LiFi uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) to deliver networked, mobile-capable, high-speed communication. Primary implementations of LiFi utilize stand-alone transceivers or LED light bulbs, controlled by a driver that turns the LED on and off, to transmit encoded data. An optical sensor is used to receive the data, which is then decoded. The transmissions occur at rates of many millions of times per second, which is not perceivable by the human eye. Since LED light bulbs and other applications for LEDs are becoming ubiquitous, due to low cost and energy efficiency over other light sources, the number of LiFi enabled devices and types of applications are vast, in both residential and commercial, transportation, and government locations.
LiFi Technology Market
The Li-Fi market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 82% from 2013 to 2018 and to be worth over $6 billion per year by 2018 (MarketandMarkets).
In contrast to radio frequency waves used by Wi-Fi, light cannot penetrate through walls and doors. This makes it more secure and makes it easier to control access to a network. Access to a Li-Fi channel is limited to devices inside the room.