Wi-Fi routers can be replaced by “LIGHT BULBS”

Imagine only needing to hover under a street lamp to get public internet access, or downloading a movie from the lamp on your desk. There's a new technology on the block which could, quite literally as well as metaphorically, 'throw light on' how to meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed wireless connectivity. Radio waves are replaced by light waves in a new method of data transmission which is being called Li-Fi.

Light Fidelity (Li-Fi): a method of transmitting data wirelessly using LED (= light-emitting diode) technology

Definition - What does LIFI mean?
Li-fi is an innovative idea in IT, one that aims at eventually replacing radio frequency wireless signals with those that come from light sources. This type of technology is still being developed, and may have the potential to introduce vastly improved wireless services.

Techopedia explains LIFI
New reports from the BBC show that Chinese researchers are developing a microchip light bulb that could enable up to 150 Mb per second of data transfer. This idea, also known as visible light communications or VLC, is just being pioneered in various applications. Scientists point out that visible light spectrums are part of the greater electromagnetic spectrum, and that this kind of application of light energy could help to unlock the puzzle of how to offer enough frequency capacity for a seemingly exponential demand.

Benefits of LiFi:
·         Higher speeds than Wi-Fi.
·         10000 times the frequency spectrum of radio.
·         More secure because data cannot be intercepted without a clear line of sight.
·         Prevents piggybacking.
·         Eliminates neighboring network interference.
·         Unimpeded by radio interference.
·         Does not create interference in sensitive electronics, making it better for use in environments like hospitals and aircraft.
By using LiFi in all the lights in and around a building, the technology could enable greater area of coverage than a single WiFi router. Drawbacks to the technology include the need for a clear line of sight, difficulties with mobility and the requirement that lights stay on for operation.

Li-Fi Wireless Communications Projects
Optical Multiuser MIMO
Description: In this project we study optical multiuser MIMO techniques in an optical attocell network. In particular, we exploit the properties that intensity modulation (IM) does not suffer from multipath fading, and that LEDs offer very directional beams. This work will contribute novel algorithms for networked, multiuser Li-Fi systems.

Interference Management in Optical Attocell Networks
Description: This project addresses the issue of co-channel interference in an optical attocell network. The project will develop novel interference cancellation techniques which are tailored to Li-Fi signals. Moreover, the project will study cell cooperation techniques as well as potential interference avoidance techniques taking into account the particular signal propagation characteristics in the visible light and infrared spectrum.

The Internet-of-Things enabled by Li-Fi
Description: Li-Fi uses direct modulation without the need for intermediate frequencies (super-heterodyning) in RF systems. Moreover, it uses inexpensive optical components such as off-the-shelf LEDs and photodetectors. It is, thus, possible to create small, low-complex transceiver units that enable any LED light to act as a high speed data transmitter. Similarly, various low-complexity photodector solutions will be studied. Finally, this work will investigate novel Li-Fi transceiver concepts and study Internet-of-Things and sensor network scenarios based on the proposed transceiver technology.

Li-Fi Spatial Modulation
Description: Spatial modulation is a new digital modulation and MIMO technique which enables highly energy-efficient transmitters as it only requires a single transmitter chain. We explore spatial modulation for Li-Fi transmitters and investigate how SM can be used to support dimming. In addition, we study the impact of various optical components such as polarisers and lenses on the performance of optical spatial modulation.

Novel Digital Modulation Techniques for Li-Fi
Description: Li-Fi uses intensity modulation and direct detection. Therefore, the signals must be strictly real valued and positive. These constraints pose limitation on digital modulation techniques. These limitations result in spectrum-efficiency or power-efficiency losses. This project investigates novel digital modulation techniques for Li-Fi that help overcome these limitations. The project will initially compare state-of-the-art techniques such as multicarrier transmission techniques such as orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) and carrier-less amplitude modulation (CAP).

Self-powered Li-Fi
Description: In this project we investigate energy harvesting concepts for Li-Fi systems in combination with energy-efficient transceiver technologies. This requires energy-efficient digital modulation techniques and low computational complexity algorithms. Therefore, investigations of new MAC and synchronisation techniques as well as novel circuit designs are all within the scope of this project. The project primarily targets sensor network applications.

Further information on the Li-Fi research work can be found on Professor Harald Haas's website and blog.

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