Velmenni, an Estonian startup has transmitted data at a revolutionary speed of 1 GB per second, a feat that is nearly 100 times faster than Wi-Fi; and that data speed was achieved with Li-Fi, a new data transmission technology that uses lightbulbs.
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Laboratory tests showed that Li-Fi transmitted data at the speed of 224 Gbps, but real life trials showed it actually does at 1 gigabit per second.
Li-Fi stands for visible light communications (VLC) technology, and it was developed to deliver high-speed, bidirectional, secure and networked mobile communications as can be seen in Wi-Fi. It has little to interference and has shown better potentials than Wi-Fi.
The term Li-Fi was given by Germain physicist Harald Haas, and that was during the TED Talk where he spoke about utilizing lightbulbs as a form of wireless router. Haas is a professor of mobile communications at the University of Edinburgh and his speech was given in 2011; many people did not think he would go far with his invention.
Then together with a number of likeminded people who had been working on the project since 2008, Haas formed the pureLiFi group and ultimately created two Li-Fi products. And on Wednesday the group revealed it has partnered with a French firm to produce VLC technology in products that would be launched in mid-2016.
In describing how the Li-Fi technology works, pureLIFi explains that:
“When a constant current is applied to an LED [light-emitting-diode] lightbulb, a constant stream of photons are emitted from the bulb which is observed as visible light. If the current is varied slowly, the output intensity of the light dims up and down,” the group said.
“Because LED bulbs are semiconductor devices, the current, and hence the optical output, can be modulated at extremely high speeds which can be detected by a photodetector device and converted back to electrical current. The intensity modulation is imperceptible to the human eye, and thus communication is just as seamless as RF [radio frequency technology]. Using this technique, high-speed information can be transmitted from an LED lightbulb.”
Haas in 2011 believed that Li-Fi would work with all single LED lightbulb and enable it to be converted into an ultrafast wireless router. "All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission," Haas explained.
"In the future, we will not only have 14 billion lightbulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future."
It must however be pointed that Li-Fi would not work outdoors or in direct sunlight since it uses a lightbulb, and it won’t penetrate through walls since visible light can’t penetrate walls; meaning that the special bulbs will have to be installed in all rooms where the technology would be deployed – and lights must be turned on at all times to deliver connectivity. This means Wi-Fi is not going anywhere soon, since it works in the open public and under all environmental conditions.
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And do not rush off yet to get one. It will take up to the next four years before it becomes commercially available everywhere – according to Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni.