Forget Google Fiber – the future of the Internet could bypass Wi-Fi altogether.
The University of Edinburgh’s Harald Haas invented the technology back in 2011, with it utilizing LED light bulbs in order to deliver Internet speeds that in lab tests have reached an astonishing 224GB per second with 1GB per second data transmission, meaning that it’s roughly 100 times faster than the average Wi-Fi speed.
Li-Fi works by using a flickering LED light in order to allow for data to be transmitted in binary code at high speeds. Speaking to IB Times UK, CEO Deepak Solanki of Estonian tech company Velmenni, the first company to implement Li-Fi within a commercial context, said: “We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilise the VLC (visible light communication) technology. Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. 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.”
Haas demonstrated during a TED talk in September 2015 that it was possible to transmit an online video using a commercial LED lamp to a solar cell, with a laptop acting as a receiver. During this talk, Haas spoke of the impact Li-Fi could have upon bringing the Internet to the 4.3 billion people worldwide who do not have access to it, along with contributing to the development of the Internet of Things.
“There is no Wi-Fi involved, it’s just light, and you may wonder “what’s the point?” Haas said, continuing: “Well the point is this. There will be a massive extension of the Internet (with Li-Fi) to close the digital divide, and also to allow for what we call the Internet of Things – tens of billions of devices connected to the Internet. In my view, such an extension of the Internet can only work if it’s energy neutral. This means we need to use existing infrastructure as much as possible.”
Watch the talk below:
We’re still years away from Li-Fi becoming a commercially viable system and it’s incredibly unlikely that it will fully replace Wi-Fi in the conceivable future, but it’s certainly a faster and more eco-friendly wireless computer networking technology, given its usage of existing materials in order to do its job. Hopefully we’ll see it receiving a widespread rollout over the course of the next few years.