We all are familiar with what WiFi is. The first thing you may say or ask when you go to your friend’s house for the first time is “What’s the WiFi password?”. But now what is LiFi? And how is it different from Wifi? So when I met my friend yesterday, who I haven’t met since we passed out from GD Goenka University, is when I realized that I really had no knowledge about it. But I’ve read up on the topic since then, so let’s go through everything there is to know about it.

li-fi internet

Firstly, let’s try to understand what WiFi stands for?

WiFi is a trademark of the non-profit organization Wi-Fi Alliance, that works to promote the Wi-FI technology and certifies Wi-Fi products. Wi-Fi is the name of a wireless networking technology that uses radiofrequency (RF) to transmit radio waves and provide wireless high-speed internet and network connections. So when a Radiofrequency current is connected to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created. Nowadays almost all electronic devices, including laptops, smartphones, TVs, printers, audio players, and cameras are all equipped with wireless network adaptors.

Today, Wi-Fi can be found almost everywhere from hotels to airports to restaurants. In 2004, Mysore became the first Wi-Fi enabled city in India

What is Li-Fi?

Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity and is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system that runs wireless communications at very high speeds. It utilizes light to transmit data between devices. The term Li-Fi was coined by Professor Harald Haas during his 2011 TED Global Talk where he introduced the idea of “wireless data from every light.” Professor Haas envisioned light bulbs to act as wireless routers.

Li-Fi can use common household LED light bulbs to enable data transfer, so with Li-Fi, your LED light bulb is essentially your router. Li-Fi and Wi-Fi are quite similar to both transmit data electromagnetically. However, while Wi-Fi utilizes radio waves, Li-Fi uses visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light.

Using light to transfer data allows Li-Fi a few advantages like a wider spectrum and higher speeds as compared to Wi-Fi. Now let’s look at key differences between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi

Key Differences

Since the end usage of both, Wi-Fi and Li-Fi are similar, let’s look at the differences between the two:

  • While both are essentially wireless connections, Wi-Fi utilizes radiofrequency waves, while Li-Fi uses the ultraviolet and infrared light connection, which has a much wider bandwidth
  • Since Li-Fi depends on infrared light and light waves cannot penetrate walls, it results in having a much shorter range compared to Wi-Fi
  • But due to its shorter range, Li-Fi is more secure and has a lot less hacking potential as compared to Wi-Fi
  • To compare between light waves and radio waves means Li-Fi displays much higher speeds than Wi-Fi.
  • Li-Fi also has the advantage of eliminating network interference in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals, and nuclear plants and not causing any electromagnetic interference.
  • Short-range, the need for a clear line of sight, and high installation costs can be the potential downsides for Li-Fi

The Future of LiFi

With the ever-growing demand for connectivity and due to its impressive speeds and secure connection, Li-Fi could really be the future and could also make a huge impact on the Internet of Things (IoT).

The popular lighting brand, Philips has invested in Li-Fi and is offering integrated Li-Fi services.

There were even reports that Apple may build its future iPhones with Li-Fi capabilities.

So the more you understand it, you realize that this technology really does have the potential to become mainstream.

Even during the discussion I had with my friend yesterday, who’s currently completing his M.Sc in GD Goenka University, he mentioned the talk he had with his professor on the different platforms to which Li-Fi application can be extended to, including education! That in the future, Li-Fi connectivity can potentially be used to create a more efficient learning environment for the students.

So get ready, because Li-Fi looks like it’s on its way to taking over and becoming an omnipresent part of our lives!