Light Fidelity operates on similar principles to today’s wifi, but is distributed across higher frequency (shorter wavelength) bands. These are far less congested than the 2.4GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical band, used today by numerous electromechanical devices. It’s been calculated that the Li-Fi frequency spectrum is 2,600 times larger than the existing RF spectrum, and adopting it should effectively eliminate interference or packet loss.
Tripping the light fantastic
Remarkably, the infrastructure for distributing Li-Fi is already with us. Any light emitting diode is capable of transmitting digital data since LEDs are either off or on. This binary state matches the digital data underpinning everything we do on computers – and over the internet. Turning a light source on and off thousands of times per second could provide a constant stream of digital data to a photodiode receiver. The human eye wouldn’t even detect any flickering at this speed.
The idea of distributing internet content through light bulbs might sound like a science fiction storyline, but Li-Fi is already being tested in proof of concept trials around the world. It’s been established that any LED is a viable data source, from electrical appliance standby lights to car taillights and streetlamps. This raises the intriguing prospect of a constant internet connection both indoors and outdoors, with devices seamlessly switching between available arcs of light.