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LiFi – the future of wireless communications is here!

“Light is not so much something that reveals, as it is itself the revelation.”  James Turrell

A few years ago, as LED technology began to move from the Laboratory to the production line, it was acknowledged that there was significant potential for the use of LED light sources for a much wider spectrum of application than just illumination.  The secret lies in the ability of the LED to be microscopically controlled.

Professor Harald Haas gave his noted TED Global talk “Wireless Data from Every Light Bulb” in 2011, where the concept of light enabled communications in the digital age was expounded, and where the term LiFi is said to have been coined.

Based on data from leading telecommunications players, connected devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet etc) and their users are demanding ever more data, and demand is growing at exponential rates.  However, there are challenges with interference and limits to the capability, and data density when using radio frequency technology such as Wi-Fi and Cellular.

Connected devices are forecast to increase to 20 Billion IoT devices by the year 2020.   Impending demand on the networks is predicted to rapidly exceed the ability of the existing networks to adapt and deliver.

LiFi is the logical next step for the mobile data revolution – using LED light, modulating at a level far beyond the limits of human perception to transmit and receive vast quantities of data – at the speed of LIGHT.

The future is bright.  The future is illuminated by LED.

LiFi is a category of Optical Wireless Communications (OWC). OWC includes infra-red and ultra-violet communications as well as visible light. However, LiFi is unique in that the same light energy used for illumination may also be used for communication.

LED light with fully integrated Access Point and Power over Ethernet.
LED light with separate Access Point as installed in the Ubi-Tech classrooms and boardroom

LiFi allows for data to be transmitted by modulating the intensity of light, which is then received by a photo-sensitive detector. The light signal is then demodulated into electronic form. This modulation is performed in such a way that it is not perceptible to the human eye.

Integrated LED and Access Point showing beam footprint

Radio frequency communication requires radio circuits, antennas and complex receivers, whereas LiFi is much simpler and uses direct modulation methods similar to those used in low-cost infrared communications devices such as remote control units. LED light bulbs have high intensities and therefore can achieve very large data rates.

Ubi-Tech Ltd and pureLiFi team up

Here at Ubi-Tech Ltd we pride ourselves on staying at the very forefront of telecommunications technology.  We are continually researching new and emerging technologies and trends to help us to better position the support we give to our students and clients, so we became acutely aware of the potential within the LiFi concept at an early stage.  Having followed the research for some time, we realised that the strongest exponent of this new concept and emerging technology was the company that invented and has continued to pioneer the technology, pureLiFi.

Ubi-Tech have formed a strong strategic association with pureLiFi, two like-minded organisations looking to the future, to the challenges and to the potential answers for the questions not asked yet.

We are very pleased to be the host for a fully functional LiFi demonstration installation.  Complete and operational.  A unique opportunity to glimpse the future of 5G communications.

We would be delighted to showcase this technology by demonstrating it to you at our training facility in Redditch, for more details please contact mike@ubi-tech.co.uk

As the technologies underpinning LiFi mature and develop, there will be a need to incorporate new techniques and new practices into your network and installation planning, and a new dimension to be applied to the development and deployment of network enabled facilities.  Ubi-Tech and pureLiFi are ready for the challenges ahead, are you?

Our instructor Heath Manning at the recent LUX show at London Excel supporting our purLiFI partner.

Comments on LiFi – the future of wireless communications is here!

There are 4 comments on LiFi – the future of wireless communications is here!

  1. Comment by Jim Quinn

    Jim Quinn

    Very much something I am interested in, not enough publicity of it though. When I chat to my customers about it they seem to think I am on a different planet. Keep me updated if you can.

    1. Comment by Mike Harbon

      Mike Harbon

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your comment. We are currently engaged in the global standardisation process and as more information becomes available we will share it. You can download marketing materials for printing from the PureLiFi website which might be useful to share with your customers so they can see that it is for real. The technology is so extraordinary that often people react as if you are spoofing them – but it is here and within a couple of years you can expect it to go mainstream.

      Mike

  2. Comment by Jules

    Jules

    Very Interesting,
    I assume for two way Access switch to end devices, that the end devices need light LiFi sources, so what power. size can I compact the end device LiFi Tx/rx units into ?
    Are there any commercial \micro LiFi on USB connectors yet ? , so I can put onto a small (inside) drone unit ?

    Does LiFi work in different lighted environments, e.g bright sunshine, to local inside dim lighting conditions ?

    Thanks

  3. Comment by Mike Harbon

    Mike Harbon

    Hi Jules,

    Think of it as just another wireless access technology at the front end of common LAN Infrastructure, very much the same supporting hardware as a WiFi network with additional elements such as suitable LED light source and components to enable the modulation of visible light on the downlink and Infrared is used on the uplink.

    As you can appreciate there is a lot to consider when thinking about use cases for drones. As visible light is a much higher frequency it does not propagate as far as radio frequency meaning this is a limiting factor when considering use cases for outdoors (like the use of drones).

    There are USB connectors for LiFi, but to use them currently you require a light fixture capable of data transmission which requires power over ethernet and supporting hardware.

    LiFi does work in other lighted environments, and is even compatible with light dimming protocols such as DALI.

    There is lots of information on the PureLiFi website contained in white papers, but I believe you will find their product specification sheets very informative for power and propagation metrics. Additionally check out the use cases that have already been tested and you will be able to see the roadmap to making this an ubiquitous technology.

    Check out https://purelifi.com/technology/

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