The Stack Archive

Wi-Fi under threat from ‘100 times faster’, more secure Li-Fi

Thu 26 Nov 2015

Hanging light bulbs

Results of recent research has confirmed Li-Fi, a super-fast data transmitting technology, is 100 times faster than conventional Wi-Fi internet communication.

The tests carried out by Estonian startup Velmenni, based in the capital city Tallinn, demonstrated that Li-Fi, which uses light to transmit data through the air, was incredibly fast in both office and industrial settings.

“We have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light,” said Velmenni founder and CEO Deepak Solanki. “We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the internet in their office space,” he added.

LTE-WiFi-LiFi-House-IllustrationThe Light Fidelity technology was first invented in 2011 by University of Edinburgh professor Harald Haas, using a technique known as Visible Light Communication (VLC). It involves flicking LED lights on and off at speeds undetectable to the naked eye to allow data to be written and transferred in binary code. Under laboratory conditions, the researchers recorded speeds of up to 224 gigabytes per second.

The real-life tests in Tallinn displayed speeds of 1 gigabyte per second, 100 times faster than Wi-Fi systems which can only transmit megabits and gigabits per second.

The technology could be easily deployed and integrated in existing networks, with the data able to travel through light generated by standard LED bulbs updated with microchips. The technology also promises to be more secure than ordinary Wi-Fi as the light is unable to travel through walls, meaning that connections are more secure and there is less interference between devices.

Although it is unlikely to completely replace Wi-Fi, researchers hope that Li-Fi could sit alongside existing wireless technologies to create faster, more secure networks.

Airlines, the oil industry and intelligence bodies have already shown interest in the technology due to its potential for secure wireless data transfers.


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