What is Li-Fi?
Li-Fi is the term some have used to label the fast and cheap wireless-communication system, which is the optical version of Wi-Fi. The term was first used in this context by Harald Haas in his TED Global talk on Visible Light Communication.
The technology was demonstrated at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas using a pair of Casio smartphones to exchange data using light of varying intensity given off from their screens, detectable at a distance of up to ten metres.
In October 2011 a number of companies and industry groups formed the Li-Fi Consortium, to promote high-speed optical wireless systems and to overcome the limited amount of radio-based wireless spectrum available by exploiting a completely different part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The consortium believes it is possible to achieve more than 10 Gbps, theoretically allowing a high-definition film to be downloaded in 30 seconds.
Li-Fi has the advantage of being able to be used in sensitive areas such as in aircraft without causing interference. However, the light waves used cannot penetrate walls.
Later in 2012, VLC, a firm set up to commercialize Li-Fi, will bring out Li-Fi products for firms installing LED-lighting systems.