Philips Light has introduced its new Li-Fi (light fidelity) technology that provides internet by generating a two-way broadband connection via light waves, as opposed to Wi-Fi that transmits data via radio waves.
Li-Fi is 10,000 times faster than Wi-Fi and will let users "stream simultaneously several HD quality videos while having video calls," Philips said.
Philips creates LED lighting panels with inbuilt Li-Fi
Using this technology, Philips has created LED office lighting panels that have a special modem fixed directly inside them.
According to Philips, these smart panels can hit broadband speeds of 30 Mbs "without compromising on light quality".
In fact, a French real estate company Icade has already installed Li-Fi panels in its office to test the technology.
Here is how the Li-Fi LED panels work
You connect a USB access key dongle to your electronic device in which you want internet.
Once plugged in, the dongle emits a light signal that communicates with the embedded LED modem to start transmitting broadband data.
The USB dongle not only receives data but also sends it back to the modem using its infrared emitter, thus establishing a two-way broadband connection.
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Li-Fi can work best at "radio-frequency hostile environments"
Transmitting internet over light waves can be best used at workplaces with "radio-frequency hostile environments" like hospitals or airplanes. "While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource," said Olivia Qiu, Chief Innovation Officer at Philips.
Limitation or strong point?
Li-Fi requires line of sight access between LED panels and USB dongles to work. Further, shadows or direct sunlight can prevent Li-Fi from reaching a USB sensor.
The limitation, however frustrating, can also double as added security.
Since light waves cannot pass through solid walls like radio waves, strict security offices can be sure of no one accessing their network outside the workplace.