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LI-FI: The implications of internet speeds 100 times faster than WI-FI

The solution to slow internet. Li-fi is faster than Wi Fi, and not just a little bit faster, 100 times faster. The reason li-fe is so fast is because it uses light, unlike wi-fi which uses radio frequencies. Electrical currents switch led lights on and off. Achieving internet speeds of 224 Gigabits per second. That’s 18 movies downloaded in a single second. ans since light cant travel through walls, your neighbors can’t steal your signal. But that’s also the catch. If the light is blocked in any way, then the signal becomes much weaker or is lost. Radiowaves have changed how we communicate. When Marconi sent his first transatlantic transmission in 1901, it sparked a revolution, suddenly information could be sent anywhere, no strings or wires attached. Mastery of radio waves has brought us entertainment, kept us in touch with space probes, and most importantly, made the internet accessible everywhere. Of course there are limits to how much data wirteless communications can carry, and that’s why we still use fiber optic cables to send data in bulk across oceans. Fiber optic suffers less interference and have achieved data rates of one petabit per second, that’s over 3 million times faster than the wi fi in your house. Typical fiber optic stystems are more in the 10-40 gigabit per second range though it’s still 10 times faster than the cat5 ethernet cables in your phone can handle. But now scientists at U of C have figured out how to match those speeds with radiowaves. They’ve transmistter 32 gigabits per second by sending multiple radio beams through a spiral face plate that twisted them into orthogonal helical structures. The same team has used a similar trick to trasmit over 2.5 terabits per second using light beams, but those dont have the same robustness to deal with obstacles that longer radiowaves have. To put those speeds in perspective, 32 gigabits per second is 30 times faster than LTE wireless. Its fast enough to transmit 10 hour and a half HD movies in a second. But right now it’s only been successfully used at distances a little over 8 feet. Future research will work on extending that range and can be applied to speed up cellular systems and bring your 4G LTE phones up to actual 4G. Connecting the vast amount of computers used to be a matter of electricity and wires, but soon we may even be connecting wirelessly at the speed of light. Welcome to the brave new world of LiFi networking tech. You can forget wires and transfer data faster than ever before. Using light itself to power up connected world, the li fi looks to be the next best thing since sliced bread. Initial test of wi fi are quite promising, moving data through the air at 224 gigabytes per second. To put that in perspective, at that speed you could download 10 full HD movies per second. Of coursr that transfer rate is the upper limit, when the system is functioning under the best psosbile conditions, meaning you only get it in a tightly controlled light environment. But even in real fworl life sitaution li-fi networks have managed to achieve 1 gigabyte per second, which is still more than 100 times faster than the fastest exiosting wireless tech today. The best news is that your home is probably better prepared for li fi then you might think. LED light is rapidly gaining traction around the world as a modern energy efficient light source, but the LED lights of today could become the lifi nodes of the future. Every LED light in your home could be equipped with a chip that would enable it to send and recieve lifi based transmissions. By enabling the movement of wireless data by the LED light going many times faster than the human eye can detect. It’ll be like having a mini rave every time you use the internet.

Since wi fi’s accidental invention in 1992 by Australian Radioastronomer dr. John O’ Sullivan to detect exploding mini black holes. Wi Fi has revolutionized digital communication. Without it, our current mobile way of life would be somewhat different. Wi Fi cureently makes up 60% of global internet traffic. With all that being said, wi fi still has some issues. It’s sketchy at time with a varying signal and its not totally secure because your signal can travel through walls and be easily picked up by someone else. The reason for all this is that Wi Fi uses radiowaves to transmit data. So how do we improve this technology and solve these problems. We must use something that’s cheap, safe, plentiful, and more robust than data transfer. The answer: light. LIghit is perfect because it’s actually just part of the electromagnetic specrtrum, just like radiowaves but at a much higher frequency. That is, the waves that carry the energy cycle at a much faster rate than radio waves. Light also has a frequency range 10,000x greater thsan radiowaves, going up to 790 terahertz, vs a maximum of 300 gigahertz for radiowaves. all this means is that light has the capacity to transmit vastly more pulses of data in much less time than radio waves. The concept of light being used as a medium to transfer internet data has been coined “lifi”. Harold Hass, the founder of li fi, in a ted talk from 2011, right at the tech’s infancy. (WATCH IT). Howard hopes to integrate this reciever technology into phones and even phone cameras so that they can send and recieve high bit rate information through and from light. You might be wondering if the light has to be turned on the whole time to receive data. Hass says yes, but you can actually dim the light down so the human eye can’t detect that it’s on, but the receiver can still read it. But does it work in real life? The answer is yes, researchers have reached speeds of 10 gigbits per second in lab conditions. For perspective South Korea’s world record internet speeds are only 100 megabits per second. Lifi has also been successfully tested in an commercial context. There have been trials and offices in Estonia that are reporting transmission speeds of 1 gigabit per second, still 100x faster than current average wi fi speeds. So imagine this, you can walk into any room, switch on the light, and simultaneously have an intenet connection 100x faster than your regular wifi, but it doesn’t stop there. Researchers at oxford U have published results of visible light internet at 223 gigabits per second. With those speeds you could download 18 1.5 gigabyte movies in one second. Biut whether otr not the servers will be able to serve those files to you is another story, but still very impressive nonetheless. So what’s the conclusion here? We could be seeing very cheap light powered internet everywhere. This could easily lead to the internet of things becoming a reality. A situation where all electronic devices communicate with each other, from your mobile phone communicating with your fridge, to sensors on a bridge warning of structural damage and potential failure to civil engineers. If LiFi becomes widely available. I think it will have turned a corner into a tech revolution that would lead to a world with internet and trasnfer of information is no longer and obstacle for the average user.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF LI-FI

  • This new Li-Fi system uses harmless infrared rays to generate a more secure and stable wireless connection with speeds of up to 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 meters.
  • The system would be a dramatic improvement over traditional Wi-Fi, which typically maxes out at 300 Mbit/s, but it’s still about 5 years away from being consumer-ready.

In 2011, the term light fidelity, or Li-Fi, was coined during a TED Talk by University of Edinburgh professor Harald Haas. It originally referred to an idea Haas had about using light bulbs as wireless routers. Li-Fi has since developed to refer to a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system for wireless communications using common household LEDs.

*5* Researchers Just Unveiled A New Li-Fi System That’s 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi
CLICK TO VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC

Now, a research team has found another way to harness the power of light for a more secure and stable wireless connection. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, led by Joanne Oh, have developed a Li-Fi system that utilizes harmless infrared rays. It was developed as part of the BROWSE project headed by Ton Koonen.

At more than 40 Gbit/s per ray, the Li-Fi system’s data capacity is greater than that of a Wi-Fi system. This is possible thanks to the infrared rays the researchers used, which had wavelengths of 1500 nanometers and higher. According to Oh, they even managed speeds of up to 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet). In comparison, most Wi-Fi networks are capable of no more than 300 Mbit/s.

DIRECTABLE INFRARED RAYS

This Li-Fi system uses light antennas to transmit wireless data. These antennas can very precisely direct rays of light from an optical fiber, and each antenna contains a pair of gratings capable of radiating light rays of different wavelengths and at different angles. As such, the system can eliminate interference. These antennas could be set up on a ceiling, and moving outside the range of one light antenna simply puts you in the range of another.

Image credit: SK Energy
Image credit: SK Energy

Adding extra devices to a single antenna won’t be a problem, as each device is given a unique wavelength. That setup results in a connection that isn’t shared by any two devices, which eliminates congestion, a common cause of slow connections in existing Wi-Fi networks. The gratings used by Oh’s team can handle many rays of light and devices simultaneously.

It’s promising work that could deliver on the many benefits of Li-Fi, including increased security and efficiency. Koonen expects that the technology could be available in five or so years. For now, the researchers will continue to work on improving their “indoor optical wireless network.”

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