Wi-Fi is the name of a wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. A common misconception is that the term Wi-Fi is short for “wireless fidelity,” however this is not the case. Wi-Fi is simply a trademarked phrase that means IEEE 802.11x.
Wi-Fi networks have no physical wired connection between sender and receiver by using radio frequency (RF) technology – a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space.
LiFi is a wireless optical networking technology that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for data transmission. LiFi is designed to use LED light bulbs similar to those currently in use in many energy-conscious homes and offices. However, LiFi bulbs are outfitted with a chip that modulates the light imperceptibly for optical data transmission. LiFi data is transmitted by the LED bulbs and received by photoreceptors.
LiFis early developmental models were capable of 150 megabits-per-second (Mbps). Some commercial kits enabling that speed have been released. In the lab, with stronger LEDs and different technology, researchers have enabled 10 gigabits-per-second (Gbps), which is faster than 802.11ad.
Benefits of LiFi:
- Higher speeds than Wi-Fi.
- 10000 times the frequency spectrum of radio.
- More secure because data cannot be intercepted without a clear line of sight.
- Prevents piggybacking.
- Eliminates neighboring network interference.
- Unimpeded by radio interference.
- Does not create interference in sensitive electronics, making it better for use in environments like hospitals and aircraft.
By using LiFi in all the lights in and around a building, the technology could enable greater area of coverage than a single WiFi router. Drawbacks to the technology include the need for a clear line of sight, difficulties with mobility and the requirement that lights stay on for operation.