Li-Fi is wireless technology that transmits data using light and it has just been tested outside the lab. Goodbye, Wi-Fi!
Four years ago, in 2011, it was invented and developed by Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Li-Fi wireless technology transmits high-speed data using visible light communication (VLC) instead of radio bands. Some compare it to a kind of advanced Morse code. With Morse, you can transmit text information as a series of patterns created with on-off tones, lights, and clicks – with Li-Fi, it's all about flicking on and off an LED at extreme speeds (that the naked eye cannot even detect), making transmission in binary code possible.
During the lab tests, scientists were able to achieve speeds of 224 gigabits per second. Moving out of the lab for the first time, the trial in Tallinn, Estonia showed that data can be transmitted 100 times faster than current 'conventional' average Wi-Fi speeds, which is 1 GB per second.
Besides being super fast, Li-Fi is also a more secure way of exchanging information – unlike Wi-Fi signals, capable of passing through walls, light can't do that.
So, it all sounds fantastic, but are we to expect Li-Fi taking over Wi-Fi any time soon? Well, setting up Wi-Fi infrastructure was expensive and time-consuming, so it's not very likely that a completely new infrastructure to support Li-Fi will be built anytime soon. However, it might be possible to modify the current devices in order to work properly with Wi-Fi and Li-Fi as well.
Li-Fi's inventor, Harald Haas stated: "All we need to do is to fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission." He added: "In the future you will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, you may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener, and even brighter future."
Below, be sure to check out the 2011 TED talk held by Haas.