Almost everybody knows what a Wi-Fi is, but most people have never heard of a Li-Fi; well, that’s okay, it’s because Li-Fi is currently being perfected in lab environments and may not yet become commercial for general use in the next couple of years.

The use of Li-Fi has been confined to some academic environments in recent years, and it delivers fast data through a light-based system that is giving it some attention among technologists outside the academic system.

The Li-Fi technology was commercially trialed by Velmenni, an Estonian firm, and found to be much better than W-Fi in several aspects; but that does not make it ready for public use at this time due to one or two factors that must be ironed out.

Using the Jungru technology, Velmenni used an LED bulb system that sends data at super-high gigabit speed. In fact, analysts say the Jungru technology has a speed of about 224 gigabytes per second. The technology has the potential for great commercial applicability, but it appears to a lab-grade MATLAB and Simulink setup connected by photodiodes instead of something that anyone can use on the streets or office buildings where light and noise and other environmental factors can pose a challenge to test its effectiveness.

Professor Harald Hass of the University of Edinburgh was the first individual to show that Li-Fi was a component of the D-light project that the university’s Institute for Digital Communications was carrying out in 2010. Professor Hass spoke at the 2012 TED Global talk and several companies showed commercial interest in the technology and even wanted to form a consortium for the Li-Fi technology, but this has not taken off yet.

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It is estimated that Li-Fi uses a RF-band 802.11 protocol or something very similar, and it has the extra layer of protection to weed out interference and light that constitutes noise. The only problem that remains is that the technology cannot be used in the open space in open environments where sunlight and rain and wind can cause electronic disruptions to it.

It is certain that Li-Fi cannot be impacted by interference from radio signals, but then visible light cannot penetrate walls, and this is one of the many challenges the technology faces. There must be a clear line of sight for it to work at optimum levels, but there could be signal interference if anyone with a telephoto lens or optical sensor comes within range. Li-Fi would be great for use on airplanes, but most airplanes today use Wi-Fi that have been configured to work onboard and rules out any further need for Li-Fi.

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