From WiFi to LiFi: a design engineering game changer?

World leader in lighting, Philips Lighting has launched Light Fidelity (LiFi). It is a technology that uses high quality lighting to provide a broadband internet connection through light waves, as opposed to the radio waves used by WiFi.

With radio frequencies becoming congested, Philips Lighting’s Chief Innovation Officer, Olivia Qiu, said the “visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of Internet of Things devices”.

Philips Lighting LiFi: how it works

Similar to WiFi, LiFi is a two-way, high-speed wireless technology which relies on luminaires that are enabled with LiFi technology. These luminaires use a built-in modem that modulates the light at speeds invisible to the human eye. A LiFi USB key / dongle (which needs to be plugged into the laptop or device) detects the light and enables the transfer of data.

LiFi technology from Philips Lighting

 

What are the benefits of LiFi?

As LiFi does not use radio frequencies like WiFi, it means it can be used in places, such as hospitals, where WiFi may interfere with equipment. It can also be used in places where WiFi signals cannot reach or are weak, such as underground.

 

LiFi in design engineering?

Philips’s LiFi technology is being piloted by a French real estate investment company. It will be interesting to see how successful this pilot is and whether LiFi will become a real contender to replace (or work alongside) WiFi.

It will certainly be important for those working in the design engineering world to keep an eye on this developing technology as it could impact on future projects.

Of course the question remains… if proven successful, will LiFi be a game changer in design engineering? Only time will tell!

 

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