Imagine downloading a high definition movie in seconds. Li-Fi, which was recently tested in the real world, will make that possible. It is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi which equals speeds of 1 gigabit per second. Velmenni, an Estonian company, tested Li-Fi by using a Li-Fi enabled LED lightbulb.  Again, about the time you think you understand 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, copper, and Fiber – along comes a new technology.

What is Li-Fi?

Harald Haas, a German physicist, introduced the idea of Li-Fi in a TED Talk. Light would be the main transmitter of internet. LED lightbulbs would serve as routers and send signals to devices.  It uses visible light communications which operates very similarly to Wi-Fi.

According to Harald, LED lightbulbs can easily be transformed to a router. A microchip would need to be added to the lightbulb and then it would work as a router. The impact will be twofold: not only will we have billions of routers, but we will have a cleaner lightbulb to present that option.

But… don’t get rid of your modem quite yet. Li-Fi has a couple major issues that inhibit it from completely replacing Wi-Fi. Yet, the duo of Li-Fi and Wi-Fi would be a nearly perfect pair, especially as traditional radio wave spectrum is becoming over crowded. You may notice overcrowding when several people are on a public wireless network, it is much slower.

Contrary to Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is not be able to travel through walls. Light travels quickly, however, it cannot travel through walls. Or perhaps you’re the person who prefers to use a wireless device in the dark to watch a movie. What then?

There is a security benefit associated with not being able to travel through walls. The network will be more secure because people from outside will be unable to access it.  For hospitals or airplanes or other such entities, this is very attractive. Security is a constant struggle for a several companies and this would offer a safer solution.

Another issue with Li-Fi is that it cannot be used outside. The sunlight interferes with the signal and does not allow use in the great outdoors. Hence, all the public Wi-Fi hotspots currently available will need to remain Wi-Fi.

Lastly, there is the issue of always having lights on. It is a waste of electricity and can be impractical for homeowners.

Keep your eyes and ears open, technology is marching on and just as we think we’ve reached the limits, it is constantly improving.

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