Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) is an emerging technology in the digital communications industry that will unlock new business models and use cases in multiple industry verticals, and create a significant impact on different stakeholders.
Most households, offices, and individuals around the world today connect to the internet using Wi-Fi and many face connectivity or speed issues. There is now available a technology that is 100 times faster than the currently available Wi-Fi technology and which can counter such connectivity and speed issues. Li-Fi is an emerging wireless technology that uses visible light to transmit data. This technology transmits data at a speed that is over 100 times faster than Wi-Fi and can achieve data transmission at 1 GB per second. This technology has huge potential to change everything about the way we use the Internet.
The block diagram given below shows the working principle of Li-Fi.
In simple terms, an LED lamp is equipped with a built-in modem that modulates the light using visible light communication technology and the light is detected by a Li-Fi USB key/dongle plugged into the socket of a laptop or tablet. The Li-Fi USB dongle returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link.
Will Li-Fi replace any of the current data transfer technologies?
With the unique features and advantages provided by Li-Fi, there is speculation in the market over Li-Fi replacing other technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. We believe that, though there are a few similarities among the technologies in terms of working methodologies and application areas, Li-Fi will not replace Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies completely but will act as an advanced companion.
The table below highlights some key differences between Li-Fi, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth:
Li-Fi has the potential to unlock several opportunities for businesses and governments
Li-Fi is a disruptive technology that is poised to create a large impact on many industries. The technology can unlock the potential of IoT, Industry 4.0 applications, and can generate new revenue streams as light-as-a-service (LaaS) in the lighting industry. Governments are likely to be one of the major end-users/beneficiaries of Li-Fi technology. Several governments, such as those of U.K, U.S, Dubai, China and India, are pushing towards and providing incentives to use LED lights and are planning to adopt Li-Fi technology as a part of their smart cities initiatives.
Li-Fi technology has several application areas and offers enormous advantages such as speed, security, cost benefits, and power usage savings. In the future, Li-Fi will play a crucial role in providing internet services to remote areas and in those areas where Wi-Fi technology cannot be used, such as cabins, hospitals, and underwater applications. Li-Fi can also be used in safe environments where radio waves are prohibited.
Though there are many advantages that Li-Fi provides, it has certain drawbacks too, such as limited range and light interference.
Li-Fi is expected to become commercial in the next 5-8 years
Currently, Li-Fi technology is still at a nascent stage and it will take another 5-8 years for it to mature and be deployed on a large scale. Commercial deployment in the residential space will take a few additional years, as this depends on further cost reductions, miniaturization, and integration of the receivers’ components in consumer electronics devices.