LiFi, the optical equivalent of WiFi

FIG1 x NEWS6 OKLight Fidelity is a rising technology of wireless data communication that uses light pulses, unlike the radiofrequency signals of the classical WiFi. In detail, the researchers of the Edinburgh University, who first studied this technology, discovered that data can be transmitted by using as light source some LED, widely used for lighting, exploiting their capability of “switching on” and “switching off” also with very high frequencies, which cannot be caught by human eye; besides, LED, as semiconductor devices, can be programmed to assume specific behaviours. To date, they have obtained data rates of 10Mbit/sec, and the target consists in exceeding 100Mbit/sec, towards a transmission gigabit speed, on the other hand experimentally obtained in Germany by the Fraunhofer Institute. There are clearly some objective limits, since the light cannot cross walls and floors, therefore transmitter and receiver must be in Line of Sight. Among the advantages, the fact that Li-Fi communications are on frequencies of the visible spectrum, with elimination of the problems of free frequency availability, as it happens in the wireless case, and it is worth considering also the diffusion and the availability of infrastructures, since the LED lighting is growing in the world: there can be a wireless access point wherever there is a LED light source. At present, what is missing is an involvement of the industry world, but those who believe in LiFi think that industrial partners will not miss in the short term, once verified the market potentialities.

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