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Li-Fi could bring us super-fast internet speeds, through a light bulb



New technology called Li-Fi could help us reach internet speeds around 100 times faster than traditional Wi-Fi. This would allow users to download an entire high definition movie in a matter of seconds. Perhaps more amazingly is that most of the infrastructure needed for Li-Fi already exists, all that is needed is a small microchip which can be fitted into any LED bulb.

The concept of Li-Fi was first brought to the world in 2011 by German physicist Harold Haas. However it is not until recently that a tech company Velemni, based in New Delhi, made a breakthrough using visible light communications (VLC) technology which they have called Jugnu. Where existing internet technology uses radio frequencies, VLC uses light. The end result is an LED light blinking and very high speeds to transmit data.

Velemni say on their website "Jugnu is the next generation of smart LED bulbs that can transfer data through visible light. We are implementing the Li-Fi technology in our new range of LED bulbs. It refers to the wireless communication system which uses light as a medium of transport instead of traditional radio frequencies,"

This kind of technology does have its limitations however. As it is based on light, it is not able to pass through walls like traditional Wi-Fi. This could be seen as a positive as it does make it harder for neighbours to pick up your internet connection. But this would also present issues when trying to stream internet throughout a large household. Additionally, Li-Fi cannot work outdoors as the LED bulbs cannot compete with natural light.

Despite the technologies limitations Velemni is not dissuaded. They say that the technology would likely not completely replace Wi-Fi, rather it would work alongside existing it. One big advantage Li-Fi does have is that it could potentially be fitted to every LED light in a household or office space, making for a seamless and super-fast internet connection. "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," says Harold Haas.

Velemni is currently working with different industries to trial its technology in real world settings. "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." says Velemni CEO Deepak Solanki.

Li-Fi may still be a few years away from entering our homes, but the worldwide potential for this technology is enormous. "In the future we will not only have 14 billion light bulbs, we may have 14 billion Li-Fis deployed worldwide for a cleaner, greener and even brighter future." Harold Haas.

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