The Advantages and Disadvantages of Li-Fi
Li-Fi may be described an optical wireless networking system. Li-Fi networks are powered by rays in the visual range as well as in the infrared and UV range. Li-Fi is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi and does not require any wired connections.
Li-Fi uses LEDs (light emitting diodes) to enable data transfer at really high speeds, theoretically up to 224 Gbps. That is super fast, but in practical condition, Li-Fi have been found to be a lot lesser than that – 1 Gbps, which is nothing to be scoffed at.
Li-Fi has been designed as a replacement for the familiar Wi-Fi system.
Does the Wi-Fi system need to be replaced?
What’s wrong with Wi-Fi?
There’s nothing wrong with Wi-Fi, except that Wi-Fi operates in a limited spectrum, using mainly 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Wi-Fi provides internet in areas that cannot be reached by cellular signals, but the problem with Wi-Fi is that because of its limited spectrum it gets crowded with far too many devices.
One easy solution would have been to get more spectrum for Wi-Fi, but this is impossible to get because of various regulatory hurdles and restrictions. Li-Fi scores over Wi-Fi because it operates differently and does not use any official spectrum.
The Man Behind Li-Fi
The concept of Li-Fi was introduced by Harald Haas, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, during a TED Talk in 2011. Professor Haas dreamed of light bulbs that could work as wireless routers. He started his own company called pureLiFi after four years of intense research to dominate “Visible Light Communications” technology, as he called it.
How do Li-Fi networks work?
Li-Fi networks use a photo-detector to receive light signals. They also use a signal processing element that converts data signals into a content that can be streamed. LED light bulbs are highly effective semi-conductors of light, which means the power supplied to the, can be dipped and dimmed at extremely high speeds and yet it would be impossible to observe the changes with the naked eye.
This allows LED bulbs fitted with a signal processing technology to send data at super fast speed to the photo-detector or photodiode at the receiving end of the network. The receiver converts the minute changes in the rapid dipping and dimming of the LED bulbs into an electrical signal, which is then converted into a binary data stream, which can be recognized by most online, audio or video applications running on internet enabled devices.
Advantages of Li-Fi
Li-Fi operates using a very unique system and cannot be hacked, unlike Wi-Fi. Your Li-Fi signals cannot be accessed by anyone outside your workstation. It is as safe as it gets and virtually impossible to penetrate.
Li-Fi is incredibly fast, capable of a speed up to 100 Gbps in laboratory conditions and 1 Gbps in normal conditions. No matter how you look at it, Li-Fi is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. You can watch an unlimited number of videos with fast download speed on Li-Fi, and browsing the internet is a pleasure as well.
Vast Applications for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a popular concept and with Li-Fi, you can connect more devices to the internet. It can be used with battery powered devices connected to the internet such as smartwatches and other wearables. Li-Fi makes the Internet of Things a reality and is certainly a technology to watch out for.
Disadvantages of Li-Fi
There are several disadvantages of Li-Fi such as Wastage of Power and Operational Complications…
To use Li-Fi, the LED bulbs need to be kept on 24/7 – throughout the day and they need to be placed throughout the house. Obviously this means that a lot of power gets consumed. You cannot even dim the lights, as Li-Fi does not operate under low lights. This makes Li-Fi really inconvenient to use, at least in the current form.
What Next for Li-Fi?
The most important thing that the technologists developing Li-Fi need to look at is to reduce the operational difficulties of using Li-Fi and making it more energy efficient. As of now, it is still not a practical technology. However, the future of Li-Fi looks bright as it should deliver faster connectivity and more efficient data transmission. The integration of Li-Fi with the Internet of Things opens up several amazing opportunities for the future.