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Li-Fi: How It Could Boost Wi-Fi


Mobile computing wouldn’t be what it is today without Wi-Fi. This technology has made it possible for employees to access corporate networks from anywhere and has transformed libraries and coffee shops into offices for telecommuters.

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi has its shortcomings:

  • It has a limited reach, especially when walls are concerned.
  • It’s notorious for security breaches.
  • Multiple users can overwhelm an access point with limited bandwidth.

Li-Fi, or Light Fidelity, is one possible solution to the deficiencies of Wi-Fi networking. Here’s a more in-depth exploration of this technology and how it could boost Wi-Fi when it hits the market one day.

What Is Li-Fi?

This up-and-coming wireless protocol has exciting potential. It uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide wireless network access. With LEDs becoming the new standard for general purpose lighting in homes and businesses, the adoption of Li-Fi could be fast and seamless.

Li-Fi remains a work in progress, but it’s being developed as a complement to Wi-Fi, not a replacement. Both technologies would coexist inside Smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Once implemented, Li-Fi could improve Wi-Fi bandwidth, boost speed, increased reliability and security, and overall enhance our communication capabilities.

How Does Li-Fi Work?

LEDs on the market today feature a chip to control their light output. A built-in transmitter modulates light intensity up to millions of times per second, meaning Li-Fi could theoretically transmit data 100 times faster than Wi-Fi!

But to tap into Li-Fi technology, you would need special light bulbs. The fundamental difference between an ordinary LED bulb and a Li-Fi-enabled light is the presence of a driver circuit. This is what sends and receives wireless signals using different intensities of light, most of which are not detectable to the eye.

Some bulbs require a CAT5 cable to hook up to the network, while others can receive data over power lines. The addition of a special encoder/decoder chip in Smartphones, laptops, and tablets—or in a dongle you plug in—would allow the cameras already present in these devices to send and receive Li-Fi signals from LED lights in the room. As you walk around, the device automatically detects the strongest signal and shifts between LED bulbs to always keep the reception at full strength.

When Will Li-Fi Become Available?

The concept of Li-Fi was first introduced in 2011 at a TEDGlobal conference. Li-Fi bulbs have already been deployed in 80 test sites, and certain companies are testing Li-Fi capabilities, but details are being kept under wraps for now.

The company attempting to make Li-Fi a reality, pureLi-Fi Ltd., predicts that Smartphones and other devices with Li-Fi signal chips will begin shipping within two to three years. The co-founder of pureLi-Fi asserts that “Li-Fi is where Wi-Fi was 15 years ago, and in five to 10 years, Li-Fi will be as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi is now.”

Stay Up-to-Date with the Latest Advances in Communication Technology

Running a competitive business requires you to stay in the know about the latest advances in communication technology. Let Corporate Technology Solutions help! We report on the fascinating changes coming our way so that when they eventually hit the market, you’re more prepared to take advantage of them. This keeps your business one step ahead of your competitors.

For help upgrading your existing wireless system, or to learn more about our communication system services, please contact Corporate Technology Solutions. We’re happy to conduct a wireless site survey in your Arizona building to help you maximize your Wi-Fi network—and prepare for the possibility of Li-Fi technology hitting the market in the near future.

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