If you’ve ever felt that WiFi speeds just aren’t cutting it for your wireless connectivity needs, well there is light at the end of the tunnel – literally.
A new and faster alternative to WiFi is moving out of research labs and into real world use thanks to Estonian startup Velmenni. The firm offers LiFi, the wireless transfer of data using light, and is outfitting offices in the Estonia capital of Tallinn, reports the IBTimes UK. The company says its LiFi technology can send data up to 1 GBps, faster than today’s best WiFi technology.
LiFi works by increasing and decreasing the brightness of light at a rate faster than is perceptible to the human eye. Any LED light could be used to transmit data if it is wired up to a microchip, as Deepak Solanki demonstrates in this video:
Jugnu is the product that Velmenni is looking to commercialize, a LED bulb that is configured to provide a LiFi connection. Solanki told IBTimes that his company is working with a private client to deploy LiFi in its office, and it has a solution ready for an industrial environment.
There are certain drawbacks to LiFi compared to WiFi, of course. Because it depends on visible light, the signal doesn’t penetrate walls. It also requires that current lights be retrofitted with microchips to support data transmission.
But on the flipside, the benefits are described as reduced risk for unwanted access because the signal doesn’t bleed beyond physical walls. There’s no interference problems since it’s not competing with other RF signals, and its use is cost effective and energy efficient.
LiFi was first invented by Prof. Harald Haas at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Since then, he’s spoken about using LiFi as a solution for providing the infrastructure needed to support the Internet of Things and to connect millions of people in the developing world.
Here’s a recent TED Talk of Haas outlining his vision for the technology: