LiFi : Connecting to Internet at the Speed of Light

Who needs a Wi-Fi network to access the network? By simply turning on a light bulb, you could navigate as much as you want and, probably, with greater speed.

That’s the promise of the concept of LiFi (Light Fidelity), a bidirectional and high-speed wireless connection system that was first known in 2011. Although it is similar to Wi-Fi, it differs radically when using light waves instead of waves. radio to transmit the data.

Philips Lighting, the intelligent lighting subsidiary of Philips, announced during the Light + Building Fair, held in Frankfurt, Germany, between March 18 and 23, the implementation of a pilot project in France to test this technology.

LiFi –¬†Internet at the Speed of Light

The French real estate investment company Icade has been tasked with testing it in its smart offices in Paris.

“It’s not science fiction, this is already a reality,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting, during the event, in which LiFi was presented as an alternative to Wi-Fi.

According to Philips, with LiFi it is aimed at a range 10,000 times greater than that of wifi, with a safer connection and avoiding the congestion of radio frequencies, which sometimes produces slowness. This system provides broadband connection of 30 Mb per second without compromising the quality of the lighting and also guarantees an electric saving of 80 percent, according to the company.

Users, says Philips, could simultaneously watch several HD-quality videos while at the same time making a video call. It is also expected that this technology guarantees a much more efficient connection between the devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“While radio frequencies are congested, the visible light spectrum is an unexploited resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a wide range of internet devices of things,” said Olivia Qiu, chief of the Innovation office of Philips Lighting.

While radio frequencies are congested, the visible light spectrum is an unexploited resource with a large bandwidth, suitable for stable simultaneous connection of devices

“We continue to guarantee energy efficiency and at the same time we can transmit information,” Rondolat added.

But how does the system that Philips raises will be the Wi-Fi of the future?

First, each lamp is equipped with a modem that modulates light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye. The luminaires must be connected to Ethernet, a standard of local area networks. Once the light is turned on, it is detected by a USB key, which is connected to the device and starts transmitting data.

Then the adapter is responsible for returning the information to the luminaire via an infrared link.

This technology is already incorporated specifically in the company’s LED Coreline lights and, as Rondolat explained, although special devices are required, for the time being, it is expected that in the future the system will already be incorporated in the computers. At the moment, under a single light source, up to 15 users can be connected.

The company ensures that the connection through LiFi is much more secure and stable because as the data is sent through light waves, a person can only connect to the LiFi zone by stopping at the portion of the line of light created by the LED luminaire. Since the light does not go through walls or doors, to intercept the transmission it would be necessary to be physically in the same room.

The technology is intended for use especially in places such as hospitals, where radio frequencies can interfere with equipment, or in spaces where greater security is required, such as the administrative office of a financial institution or government service. It can also be useful in spaces where Wi-Fi signals are weak, such as in public transport services.

Although Philips did not announce official release dates for this technology, the company says that the industry is evolving very quickly, so it hopes to deploy it massively in the near term.

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