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Internet Through Your Lightbulb?

New technology transforms lightbulbs to ultra-fast internet connection

We all have our share of annoyingly sluggish wireless connections. All of us, at one point in our online lives, have experienced a slow internet connection over a supposedly trustworthy Wi-Fi. We can attribute this “concern” with the density of users attached to a certain Wi-Fi connection. The more popular it becomes, the slower it gets.

But researchers from Fudan University in Shanghai may just have found an alternative solution. According to a recent demonstration, they have created a technology that transmits internet data via light instead of radio waves (common in Wi-Fi). The catch? This does not only resolve the congestion issue but provides access which is 10 times faster than traditional Wi-Fi!

Let us understand how a Wi-Fi connection works a little bit deeper. A Wi-Fi connection is created by electromagnetic waves. Because of this, it is being set with an upper limit of bandwidth. The lower the wave frequency, the less it can transmit.

Termed as “Li-Fi” this new technology of using light instead of radio waves uses much higher frequency compared to usual Wi-Fi connection. It is important to note, however that light, like radiowaves, is also an electromagnetic wave but it has about 100,000 times higher frequency compared to your Wi-Fi signal. The key here is to make sure that your lightbulb flickers fast and accurate until it is capable of carrying its own signal.

This is how it works: the data we have been talking about will be transmitted via a LED light – yes, it can be the very same lightbulb you have in your room right now. Then, the lightbulb must flicker on and off even up to a sky-high billion times per second. Don’t worry, a flickering that fast cannot be seen by the naked eye. Such activity in the lightbulb should then be captured by a receiver or a mobile device which may be in the form of a mini-camera that can capture visible light. The device will in turn decode the flickering of the light bulb into data. So if you put it in a nutshell, the faster the flicking, the faster the data transmission – up to 10 times faster. This can go up depending on the speed of rapid on and off of the light.

The technology, however, is far from perfect. Just like current Wi-Fi technology, Li-Fi also has its own limitations. One is that you should always be under the lightbulb where you are getting your connection from. Though it is possible to wire an office, school or home overhead lightbulb, you lose your connection as soon as you go away from it unless the lightbulb is wired as well.

But this fate is not only limited to Li-Fi. The newest advancement in Wi-Fi technology would also involve higher range of radiowaves that might have higher bandwidth but cannot penetrate walls.

The limitations of Li-Fi would make it impossible to replace current Wi-Fi networks but it would be a perfect alternative or supplement especially in possibly congested areas where signals need to be kept at a minimum.

Category: Gadget, Technology