What Is LiFi? How Does It Work?

Technology that can transfer data at the speed of light.

what is lifi or light fidelity
Image: Fossbytes.

LiFi (short for light fidelity) is a wireless optical communications technology that uses visible light to transmit data in real-time. In other words, data can wirelessly travel at the speed of light using light itself. Likewise, it’s up to 100 times faster than standard WiFi speeds.

Professor Harald Haas first introduced LiFi in 2011 at a TED Talk on Visible Light Communication (VLC). Since the technology uses a light source, it has more bandwidth capability, unlike WiFi, which uses radio waves. Due to its significant capabilities, various industries use LiFi for multiple tasks.

How does LiFi work?

LiFi is a Visible Light Communications system transmitting data wirelessly at very high speeds. The technology makes an LED bulb emit pulses of light undetectable to the human eye. Further, data can travel to and from receivers within the emitted pulses.

how lifi works
Image: LiFi.co

The receivers then collect the information and interprets the transmitted data. It’s like the Morse code, but at a much faster rate (millions of times a second). Light fidelity speeds can reach above 224 Gbps, around 14 times faster than the quickest WiFi network.

However, the only drawback to LiFi technology is that it entirely depends on a constant light source to function. And as everyone knows, light cannot travel through walls because the light waves are pretty small. Hence, to have a fully functional LiFi network in a secure building, you will require a modulated LED source in every room and hallway.

The technology’s particular drawback is also an excellent security measure from a different perspective. To clarify, LiFi is more secure than WiFi because you can introduce physical barriers to limit access to a network. You can easily protect the data you send and receive by containing light in a closed space.

Soon enough, we could be seeing LiFi technology being used at several places in our everyday lives. Various industries like healthcare and aviation use it to carry out specific tasks. Hence, the technology could soon be a part of individuals’ lives by making it into intelligent home systems.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth Dudeja

An engineering student with a keen interest in most aspects of technology. Likes to write about Microsoft, Apple, Laptops, Gaming, etc.
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