A super-fast connectivity alternative to Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, is finally moving from research labs to the real world.
Estonian startup Velmenni, has begun trialing the new technology within offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Helsinki.
“We are doing a few pilot projects within different industries where we can utilise the VLC (visible light communication) technology,”
Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni, said.
“Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light. We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the internet in their office space,”
Li-Fi is a wireless technology similar to Wi-Fi that allows data to be sent at high speeds using visible light communication (VLC).
It was invented by Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, and it holds several advantages over Wi-Fi.
Unlike Wi-Fi, Li-Fi allows for greater security on local networks as light cannot pass through walls. With this, the technology offers less interference between devices.
However the most significant advantage of Li-Fi is the speed it offers. Researchers have achieved speeds of 224 gigabits per second in lab conditions.
The Li-Fi technology used by Velmenni in the pilots was able to send data at up to 1GBps – which is more than 100-times faster than current Wi-Fi technologies. At these speeds, a high-definition film could be downloaded in just a few seconds.
While Li-Fi may not completely replace Wi-Fi, the technologies could be used to create more efficient networks.
According to Solanki, the success of the pilot projects could see Li-Fi technology rolled out for consumers within the next three to four years, allowing people to access the internet using the light bulbs in their home.
Before mass adoption of Li-Fi can be realised, techniques need to be developed to retrofit current devices with the technology.
“It is very difficult to create a whole new infrastructure for Li-Fi so somehow we need integrate our system with the current system,”