In the next 5 years laggy inconsistent Wi-Fi networks could be a thing of the past. Researchers confirmed that information can be transmitted by light. This process is known as Light Fidelity, or Li–Fi. It is hundreds of times faster than basic Wi-Fi and is a major step forward in networking and wireless technology. Unfortunately,Li–Fi is not commercially available to the public. Li–Fi is projected to be worth over $6 Billion by the end of 2018.
It works by switching the current to the LEDs off and on at a very high rate. These rapid flashes work as a binary code to transmit data. Although Li–Fi LEDs must be kept on to transmit data, they can be dimmed. While dimmed they are not visible but still emitting enough light to carry data. Li–Fi needs a direct line of sight to receive information. This keeps networks much safer because you will have to be in direct contact with the light to connect to it.
As a result, it has a shorter range than traditional Wi-Fi signals which are carried on radio frequencies. Radio frequencies are picked up through walls and other objects. Li–Fi can have its ranged extended by bouncing the light off of walls or mirrors. By doing this you do lose some of its speed, but even with that loss it is still 100x faster than traditional Wi-Fi.
Due to the popularity of cellphones and Wi-Fi connections, our bandwidth is becoming quite limited. Bandwidth comes from the radio spectrum and is not unlimited. The US Federal Communications Commission has warned of a potential spectrum crisis because Wi-Fi is close to full capacity. Li–Fi has an almost unlimited capacity because the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger than the radio frequency spectrum.
Additionally, any light source can emit a Li–Fi connection. This means that street lamps alongside roads can be equipped with it. This would allow for self driving cars to navigate. It can also be used to provide a free network connection to anyone.
With current technology Li–Fi will be cheaper than Wi-Fi. They have less components and are easier top create than radio transmitters and receivers. The only major roadblock for Li–Fi is the infrastructure. Due to the fact that we have been on Wi-Fi networks for such a long time, most of our technology and infrastructure is compatible and made to work with it. For it to work with the new Li–Fi technology we would need to do a lot of conversions to the basic everyday things that use Wi-Fi.