A new technology far greater than Wi-Fi.
What On Earth Is Li-Fi?
Also known as Visible Light Communications (VLC), Li-FI (light-based wireless transmission) is 100 times faster than current Wi-Fi (radio frequency-generated) speeds. Invented in 2011, “Li-Fi transmits data using LED lights, which flicker on and off within nanoseconds, so fast it’s imperceptible to the human eye.”
The first company to implement this technology was Velmenni of Estonia where it has achieved amazing speeds of 224 gigabits per second. Several other companies have jumped on board since then, providing installation kits for early adopters.
There is one significant, but potentially manageable limitation: Li-Fi can’t penetrate walls.
Regardless, It Offers Amazing Advantages–
- VLC/Li-Fi creates far greater data density than Wi-Fi.
- It costs less.
- Existing LED light bulbs can be converted to transmit Li-Fi signals with one microchip.
- It’s more secure than Wi-Fi because hackers don’t have visibility of the light source transmitter.
- While Li-Fi bulbs need to be left on to transmit data, they can be dimmed to the point of invisibility and still work.
- This technology is especially useful where electronic circuitry may interfere with radio frequencies (WiFi).
- More specifically, Li-Fi can help solve privacy/security issues challenges associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). This is because, in the future, LED bulbs will be able to establish secure home networks for devices to safely talk to one other.
At The Same Time, Wi-Fi Is Rapidly Improving With Geni And Internet2
In 2007, the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) was established by the National Science Foundation to help develop technologies to build on and improve Wi-Fi. It created a parallel subdomain to the Internet for scientists to safely and efficiently explore new possibilities.
Since then, GENI has created a network of over 50 sites in more than 30 countries, with upwards of four thousand participants. This has allowed broad-scale testing of many innovations. At the heart of proposed improvements, is a ‘low latency fiber network’ with significant advancements in bandwidth/speed, ‘latency,’ and security.
In Part II of this article, I’ll explore more about the new generation Wi-Fi and the parallel Initiative, Internet 2, including how they already are affecting the ongoing net neutrality debate.