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LiFi data transfer is coming, and it’s better than WiFi

Signify (which was formerly Philips Lighting) is pioneering the transmission of data via light emitting diodes. Up until now there have been some experimental applications of the technology (such as LEDs to transmit a high-speed connection of up to 30 Mb per second through the application of light waves); however, the Signify offering presents one of the first workable commercial applications.

LiFi is a light communication technology which is theoretically capable of transmitting data at high speeds over different media, such as the visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared spectrums. Currently the main progress is with only LED lamps in relation to visible light.

For the end user, LiFi delivers a similar outcome to WiFi. in terms of the technology, the main difference is light (LiFi) as opposed to radio signals (WiFi). The reasons for developing LiFi are due to different technological improvements, such as ULiFi possessing a wider bandwidth channel. Furthermore, there is the ability to safely use the technology within areas that would otherwise susceptible to electromagnetic interference (such as aircraft cabins). There is also the prospect of faster transmission speeds.

The scope of the technology is of great interest. Imagine an industrial-style desk lamp capable of beaming broadband to a dongle, which someone can then connect to their laptops or mobile device.

READ MORE: Get ready for LiFi in 2019

With the new development, as Engadget reports, Dutch-based Signify’s LiFi system is termed Trulifi, and it uses optical wireless transceiver technology built into Philips lights (such as the popular Philips Hue). With this, Trulifi uses optical wireless transceiver technology built, or retrofitted, into Philips luminaires. For the process to work, users will need a USB-access key, which needs to be plugged into a laptop, to receive the LiFi signal.

The Trulifi tehcnology has already attracted two corporate customers: Globalworth, in Poland and Romania; and Claerhout Communication Campus, in Belgium. These are the first steps to the greater availability of a more efficient and reliable alternative to WiFi.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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