We have known for over a decade that flickering light bulbs can transfer substantial lots of wireless data, not just silly infrared commands to your TV. Now, the IEEE standards body behind Wi-Fi has decided to formally invite “Li-Fi” to the same table, with speeds ranging from 10 megabits per second to 9.6 gigabits per second using invisible infrared light.
As of June 2023, the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard now officially recognized wireless lightweight communications as a physical layer for wireless local area networks, which is a fancy way of saying that Li-Fi doesn’t need to compete with Wi-Fi. Light may be just another type of access point and interface that offers the same networks and/or the same Internet to your device.
In fact, at least one IEEE member has been experimenting with networks that use Wi-Fi and Li-Fi simultaneously to overcome the disadvantages of the others, cleverly steering some office computers to Li-Fi versus Wi-Fi to improve the entire network. grid.
Look, Li-Fi products aren’t really new: companies have been trying to sell them for several years. There is even already a competing standard, the International Telecommunication Union’s G.9991, which appears in Philips Hue’s Signify data-transmitting light bulbs, among other things.
These companies have been relying on the fact that the light can provide a fast, private, direct line-of-sight connection without radio interference, amid concerns that lighting conditions can vary dramatically and it’s all too easy to accidentally cut a light. line of sight -connection in sight. My colleague Jake illustrated the pros and cons when he tested a Li-Fi lamp in 2018.
In its description of the experiment, CableLabs does not deny that Light Communication (LC) has room for improvement. “LC range is very sensitive to irradiance and incidence angles, making dynamic beam steering (and LoS availability) attractive for future LC evolution,” reads one line in the study. .
“Next-generation enterprise Wi-Fi and LC performance are on par, but LC reliability needs to be improved. One possible approach is the use of multiple distributed optical interfaces,” says another.
“Reliability needs to be improved”
The reason we’re hearing about this now It’s not because the IEEE made a big deal about it, by the way, it’s because the company that hired the man who coined “Li-Fi”, Dr. Harald Haas, really wants to take this opportunity to sell their newest product, and the member of the working group Fraunhofer wants to be recognized for his contribution.
PureLiFi just launched the light antenna one in February, a module small enough that it can theoretically be integrated into smartphones, which it claims can already deliver over 1 Gbps depending on the use case. (It is only rated to communicate with devices that are less than 10 feet away, and it has a 24-degree field of view when transmitting.) PureLiFi says it is already compliant with the 802.11bb standard and is ready “to enable mass LiFi integration.” for the first time.”