Signify, Philip’s lighting division formerly known as Philips Lighting, released Trulifi, one of the first commercial LiFi networking systems.
What is LiFi?
Whereas modern wireless systems — Wi-Fi, cellular, and others — use electromagnetic waves as a medium to transfer data, Li-Fi uses infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light. It sends signals by quickly strobing LED lights; far too quickly for the human eye to detect.
Passing data through light has existed as a technology for almost 10 years now, but it’s only been an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) wireless standard since May 2018, formalized as the 802.11bb standard. The Trulifi system uses the G.9991 Li-Fi standard established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which defines the lower level connection compatibility.
Li-Fi’s strength isn’t wide-area coverage as light waves can’t penetrate opaque objects. This characteristic, however, also makes Li-Fi ideal for high-security environments like government facilities, corporate, and hospitals since its signals can be easily contained.
Furthermore, Li-Fi systems could be deployed where traditional radios cannot. Certain areas in the aerospace, healthcare, and education sectors may need to limit the use of radio equipment to prevent interference. Visible light has wavelengths in the nanometers, completely isolated from even the wavelength of the highest frequencies currently used in the industry. Since Li-Fi operates on completely different spectrums, it can act as a safe alternative.
The greatest source of interference for Li-Fi are other light sources like the sun, but as long as the work area is properly covered, advanced filtering algorithms render this a non-issue. Li-Fi systems can also capture signals reflected from other surfaces so it can function even without a direct line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.
The Trulifi system comes in two configurations. The 6002 series has a net data rate of up to 150Mbps and works with the light on, off, or dimmed. The 6013 fixed point-to-point system has a guaranteed 250Mbps data rate and is available in blue, red, and green light.
Transmission is encrypted using 128-bit AES encryption and requires a USB access key, which doubles as the transceiver on the end devices. The system also supports seamless handoff, meaning the end device won’t lose connection moving between lights.
Light fixtures with Philip’s LED light bulbs are already compatible with Trulifi. The system can also be retrofitted onto existing LED light fixtures.
All systems are available globally now. No pricing information has been announced.