If you are reading this article, you probably are using Wi-Fi, or at least know about it. This wireless technology has helped shape the technology landscape in the last 15 years by providing easy access to the Internet from any device within range of a Wi-Fi router. Throughout the years, many iterations of the protocol have allowed significant improvements in terms of speed, range, reliability and security, making the deployment of wireless access points ever more interesting for both users and vendors.
A new technology, called Li-Fi, has started to emerge and allows much higher speeds than Wi-Fi while also being less invasive. Indeed, Li-Fi uses the visible electromagnetic wave range to transmit data instead of the current, much narrower radio bands used by Wi-Fi. While Li-Fi cannot penetrate walls and other kinds of obstacles, it can seamlessly be integrated into lighting solutions, allowing wide coverage in interiors and smarter broadcasting solutions. However, it cannot be used outdoors in direct sunlight because of light interferences.
Although the term has been coined in 2011 by Professor Harald Haas in a talk he gave in Edinburgh, Scotland at TEDGlobal 2011, the technology has only seen concrete developments recently, in particular as Velmenni, an Estonian start-up tested the technology in its offices and achieved a stable transmission speed of 1Gbps, which remains far from the 224Gbps obtained in some laboratories.