Let There Be Light – And Li-Fi

Geetika Tripathi

When the first Internet users patiently dialed those magical numbers and connected to their Internet service provider on the ever-faithful telephone line, little did they know that one day this sluggish ordeal would become breathtakingly swift. Today, the ways and the speed of connecting to the Internet have changed phenomenally since the days of dial-up access in the 80s and 90s – yet this wireless atmosphere will be further transformed if Li-Fi has its way.

By now, most of us are aware that the seeds of the concept of Li-Fi were sown by Harald Haas when he presented for the first time in his TED Global Talk 2011.

So, what is Li-Fi? It is all of the following:

  • Light fidelity
  • Wireless networking mechanism
  • Data transmission through a visible light spectrum
  • Enhanced visible light communication by using LEDs
  • The promise of manifold security and speed, as compared to the traditional Wi-Fi

In simpler terms, Li-Fi is an optical wireless networking mechanism to transmit information swiftly by making use of LEDs. However, the real news is its transformative potential.

The upside of Li-Fi…

According to Harald Haas, Internet accessibility is quickly competing with air, food, water, and electricity as a basic necessity. However, the available spectrum of radio waves is pretty scarce to completely satisfy the tremendous need and demand for transferring and accepting data.

While the radio wave spectrum shrinks and becomes more expensive, Li-Fi provides a spectrum that is many times bigger and 100 times faster than the former. In fact, a recent experiment proved that data can be transmitted in Li-Fi at a rate of 1 GB per second! Plus, it scores high in efficiency because this method requires very-little energy.

The most-fascinating aspect of Li-Fi is its potential for keeping data more secure and guarded than anything seen in the past. We have all experienced Wi-Fi paralysis in flights, hospitals, places of certain altitude, underwater, and other such environments. Any party with malicious intent can encroach these signals and breach cybersecurity policies. This is the beauty of Li-Fi: As elementary science taught us, light cannot sneak in and out of walls and other solid objects.

… and the flipside

Where does Li-Fi score low?

First of all, Li-Fi is all about the presence of light. No light, no show! Low light, maybe! So if you don’t have LED lights in every nook and cranny that matters, Li-Fi slumbers.

Moreover, if you are outside, there’s no problem in daylight, but sensors within devices may cease to work by nighttime.

What does the crystal ball show?

What does all of this mean? Will Li-Fi dethrone traditional Wi-Fi and rule the world of connectivity? Or will it play a weak second fiddle due to its various challenges?

Perhaps it is too early to announce the verdict. However, one thing is certain: With a judicious assortment of Li-Fi and Wi-Fi to choose from, consumers can have the best of both the worlds. Innovators can create incredible technology with the Internet of Things such as smart homes with smart appliances or smart connected cities. In addition, billions of people will be able to access Internet connectivity at a lower price.

The writing is on the wall: The solution lies not in substitution of one with the other, but in accompaniment of both together. Let’s wait and see what happens next.

Want more insight on future-focused technology? See Digital Trends That Will Shape Your Future [E-Book].

Picture credit: pixabay.com


Geetika Tripathi

About Geetika Tripathi

My association with SAP is eight wonderful years. I have a disposition for the latest technological trends and a fascination for all the digital buzz apart from the world of process orchestration, cloud, and platforms.