Philips has announced that is is now testing a light fidelity, or LiFi, transmission system in a French real estate office. Marking the first real world use of the light-based internet system.
LiFi is a system of transmitting information signals using light pulses instead of over radio waves. In essence, it functions in the same way as regular WiFi; but manages to sidestep the problem of an increasingly congested radio frequencies. It’s also safer to use in places where wireless transmissions may cause issues, like in hospitals.
In the case of Philips, the transmitters are built directly into light fixtures; with separate dongles required for the connected devices. It would appear that Philips is using the infra-red spectrum for the connection, and claims that it is capable of speeds up to 30Mbps.
The real benefit of LiFi is that it is very easy to control who has access to the network. Shutting people out could be as simple as closing a door or pulling down the blinds, which allows for higher levels of network security. It also prevents outsiders from stealing WiFi through the walls.
Researchers have been working on LiFi technology for several years now, and it would seem that we’re getting closer to a marketable product. The only stumbling block that might exist is the need to incorporate yet another component into our devices to accommodate the wireless connection; something that might not be attractive to manufacturers.