We use the internet throughout our day. You start your day by reading the newspapers online, use internet for your private life, professional life and keep yourself updated with the current affairs. They are the source of online music, online videos, gaming and the list can be endless. The Internet of Things also uses internet for almost all its basic functions which make the internet as a possible fundamental element analogous to water or electricity. We use this internet via the wireless communication which we call as the Wi-Fi. They are affected by electromagnetic waves which create data loss during the transmission of internet signals wirelessly. Imagine the same data packets that would be transmitted to the devices like laptops, mobiles, tablets through light. Visible light communication is one of the technology which would take over Wi-Fi in the next few years.
Li-Fi is known as the light fidelity where any light illuminating device or object like a desk lamp, tube light act as transmitters. The fluorescent light bulbs should be replaced by LEDs. These new LEDs can be coupled with semiconductor devices called as signal processors that can convert these data signals into light waves and then transmit. The receivers should include a photodiode and an imaging sensor that will read these light signals and convert them back to the data signals which can be used to play a high definition video. The data is transmitted over the visible light spectrum. Visible light is between infrared light and radio waves and its spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the existing radio waves which have certain limitations.
The number of base stations for wireless communication is 1.4 million and, on the contrary, we have 14 billion electric bulbs. Just imagine the amount of energy that can be saved just merely by replacing the technology. The current efficiency of these base stations is only 5% which can be enhanced by using the Li-Fi technology which is energy efficient as well. These improvements can also provide high-speed data transmission up to 100 Gbps which is impossible by Wi-Fi. The technology works on SIM OFDM – a type of modulation, that’s how the light source is made to transmit data.
The availability of internet can be made possible because of this new technology at places where electronic devices are turned off for security reasons like airplanes, hospitals etc. The security of internet can be increased as the data is transmitted only through the direction of the light. The large base stations can be completely knocked out. For using the internet, you would just be requiring an illuminating device like an LED, readily available in a mobile phone – Camera!
The only possible disadvantages would be the shorter range of data transmission, no internet in darker areas. Apart from the disadvantages if we look at the positives, the future of data transmission could be cleaner, energy efficient, safer and much brighter.