With over 6 hours of active internet usage per day per person, the internet runs our lives. The words Wi-Fi and internet have become synonymous due to the simple fact that the majority of internet users access it through Wi-Fi technology. What we need to understand here is that the internet is the data (the language), whereas Wi-Fi is a wireless network technology that sends this data via internet connections (the highway) through the air to wide area networks and on to non-wired computers. Wi-Fi had been the choice of communication for the majority of the population due to its sheer simplicity and ease of access. But what if I tell you that there is a technology which is even easier, more accessible to us and about 100 times faster than Wi-Fi? This is where Light-Fidelity or Li-Fi technology comes in.
Li-Fi was first introduced by Prof. Harald Haas in 2011 at a Global TED Talk. Li-Fi is a visible light communications system transmitting wireless internet communications at very high speeds. The technology makes use of a simple LED light bulb, emitting pulses of light that are undetectable to the human eye and within those emitted pulses, data can travel to and from receivers. Then, the receivers collect information and interpret the transmitted data. This is conceptually similar to decoding Morse code but at a much faster rate – millions times a second. LiFi transmission speeds can go over 100 Gbps.
If the world decides to switch to Li-Fi technology as its main access point for the internet, the transition would prove to be quite smooth, because all modern-day houses already have well-wired lighting inside the houses – be it tube lights, or LED bulbs or filament bulbs. The only physical infrastructure which would be left to install would be modulators and demodulators, similar to modems, used in Wi-Fi connections at present.
This technology has a special significance during the times of this pandemic. Remote places with limited internet access can utilise this technology very effectively and make great strides in healthcare.
Furthermore, this technology can be extensively utilised in creating a complex system of navigation. The implementation would be quite simple too, the existing street-lights can be leveraged to slightly change their brightness, unnoticeable to the human eye, and a device in the vehicle can demodulate those signals and precisely pinpoint where the vehicle is and about the upcoming turns or exits. Making use of this application would also enforce saving of huge amounts of money spent on boards and hoarding, especially on highways.
All-in-all, Li-Fi technology can prove to be a gamechanger in the long run with infinite applications and numerous benefits over Wi-Fi. While the switch over might be slow, it will certainly be a beneficial one which would open infinite possibilities.