Li-Fi — fast, secure, non-interfering LED routers

According to The Economist

LEDs are rapidly replacing bulbs and tubes because they are more efficient. And because they are semiconductor devices, tinkering with their electronics to produce the flickering signals required for data transmission is pretty straightforward […] The Li-Fi consortium reckons more than 10 Gbps is possible. In theory, that would allow a high-definition film to be downloaded in 30 seconds.


A big advantage of light is that it can be used in areas which contain sensitive equipment that radio signals might interfere with, such as aircraft and operating theatres. LEDs in the ceiling of an airliner would not only allow internet access but could also transmit films on demand to individual seats, removing the need for lots of expensive and heavy cabling, thus saving airlines fuel. That alone could be enough to, as it were, make this idea fly.

According to Tim Fernholz

You can imagine all kinds of uses for this technology, from public internet access through street lamps to auto-piloted cars that communicate through their headlights. And more data coming through the visible spectrum could help alleviate concerns that the electromagnetic waves that come with WiFi could adversely affect your health. Talk about the bright side.

According to Jeff McMahon, reporting on a study by Robert Weissbourd about LED in general (not Li-Fi),

“It’s projected that the shift to LED lighting is going to be huge. It’s going to capture 60 percent of the market globally in the next ten years.”


The economics of LED lights are so favorable that as market acceptance develops, and as start-up costs drop, building owners will be able to shift to LED lighting without requiring much, if any, financial assistance, he said.

Within the next five years, Weissbourd predicted, opportunities will flourish for companies that can replace a building’s existing lighting systems with LED systems.

See also Gordon Povey’s blog “Visible Light Communications“.


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