Most companies operate a wireless network as a part of their business infrastructure. They are often reliable and extend the enterprise’s scope beyond their wired network, but they are not perfect. Concerns about radio interference and security have always plagued wireless networks, so network vendors are looking to the future of wireless communications. One advancement in wireless technology that has caught the attention of solution providers and enterprises is LiFi.
LiFi (short for light fidelity) is a wireless network that transmits signals via light rather than via radio signals. The technology is currently under development and is poised to take over WiFi. It’s no doubt an intriguing development, and one that may change the future of wireless networking. However, it’s not worth getting rid of your WiFi infrastructure just yet – there are still some uncertainties that should be addressed. Below, we’ll discuss what LiFi promises to bring and whether or not it will one day replace WiFi altogether.
How does LiFi work?
WiFi networks allow users to wirelessly connect to a wired network, such as a LAN, by the use of routers and access points. These devices transmit radio signals within a specific radius and can be picked up by any compatible device in range. They eliminate the need for a physical connection by transmitting data to anybody within a certain area.
LiFi works similarly, but uses light instead of radio waves to transmit data. A LiFi system uses visible light communication (VLC) to transmit data, which works by converting data to LED light transmissions communicated by turning the LEDs on and off at incredibly high speeds. LiFi uses all available LED light sources, such as lightbulbs, to send data, meaning that your enterprise is most likely already equipped to handle LiFi data.
What are the advantages of LiFi?
LiFi promises a handful of advantages over WiFi that are no doubt alluring to both tech experts and enterprises. While the technology is still in development, LiFi companies have determined a number of benefits the system is likely to bring.
In order to transmit data over a LiFi connection, all you need is a source of light. Any business that uses LEDs to light their offices already has the perfect setup.
Light-based data transmissions are inherently short range because unlike radio waves, light cannot travel through solid walls. That, however, means that it is nearly impossible for users in other rooms to hijack LiFi signals – they need to be in the presence of the light to do so.
Potentially infinite capacity
The visible light spectrum is much larger than the radio frequency spectrum, meaning that the number of devices able to connect to a LiFi network is much higher.
LiFi networks perform much better in areas with lots of electromagnetic interference. This is thanks to their use of light rather than radio waves to transmit data.
Will LiFi ever replace WiFi?
While LiFi is certainly an interesting development, it’s not clear at the moment whether or not it will eliminate the need for WiFi networks. Widespread LiFi adoption is still a long way away, and though it is very promising, there isn’t enough sufficient data on the technology at the moment. The jury is still out on LiFi’s overall efficiency in terms of cost and energy usage. While it may be less costly to run, it’s short range means that larger companies need to put more of an investment into building the necessary infrastructure.
For the time being, WiFi is still the predominant wireless network. It’s probably safe to say that LiFi will replace it one day, but that day is most likely in the distant future.
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