Home Radio waves LI-FI shines as the future of short-range communications

LI-FI shines as the future of short-range communications

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Relying on light to transmit data between devices, Li-Fi is the key to fast and secure communications when it is important to avoid radio waves. A French start-up recently launched the first ready-to-use electronic chip that allows any smartphone, tablet or laptop to integrate Li-Fi.

What is Li-Fi?

Li-Fi is a two-way wireless optical communication technology that provides high speed, low latency links over short distances. It relies on LED lights that flash over 10 million times per second, making it imperceptible to the human eye.

The term Li-Fi was coined in 2011, and the technology can use protocols similar to Wi-Fi. Light-based communications cannot pass through walls like radio waves, but in return, they are very resistant to interference. , hacking and jamming.

While Wi-Fi’s radio wavebands are near full capacity and very crowded, Li-Fi has almost unlimited capacity. It can theoretically transmit at speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, with extremely low latency of less than 1 millisecond.

Direct line of sight is not required for Li-Fi to transmit a signal, with light reflected from walls still reaching data speeds of 70 megabits per second.

As in the early days of Wi-Fi, computers require a USB dongle to take advantage of Li-Fi, but that is changing.

French start-up Oledcomm

AT World Mobile Congress 2021, French start-up Oledcom launched its Gigabit OFE (Optical Front End), the first plug-and-play electronic chip that allows any smartphone, tablet or laptop to integrate Li-Fi.

LiFiMAX by Oledcomm

The Gigabit OFE can be coupled with photodiodes and light sources such as LED or VCSEL to achieve a point-to-point connection of 1 gigabit per second at a distance of up to 5 meters. It can be used with the ITU-G.9991 baseband designed for infrastructure, as well as the 802.11 baseband already present in most mobile devices.

Although Li-Fi is not yet as cost effective as Wi-Fi, it is a practical replacement in environments where radio waves are not suitable.

The fact that Li-Fi cannot pass through walls makes it well suited for highly secure environments such as government and defense. The Hague Conference Center has deployed a Li-Fi test to provide more secure communications.

The use of light rather than radio waves also ensures that Li-Fi does not create RF interference that could disrupt sensitive equipment.

“In times of COVID-19 crisis and a global semiconductor capacity shortage, Oledcomm provides bright, fast, secure and healthy wireless connectivity wherever Wi-Fi / 4G / 5G radio waves are not suitable. .»Benjamin Azoulay, President of Oledcomm

In 2019, Oledcomm tested its Li-Fi technology at the Paris Air Show. Later that year, he equipped an Airbus A321 commercial flight with Li-Fi technology.

Li-Fi also finds applications in hospitals, where it avoids interfering with sensitive medical equipment. It is also well suited for factories where it can operate reliably in noisy RF environments.

Gigabit OFE will allow mobile device manufacturers to seamlessly integrate Li-Fi into their products, said Benjamin Azoulay, President of Oledcomm.

“The end user experience will change dramatically as dongles are no longer needed. In times of difficult COVID-19 and global semiconductor capacity shortage, Oledcomm is demonstrating its leadership, resilience and commitment to accomplish its mission: to provide bright, fast, secure and healthy wireless connectivity wherever Wi-Fi. Fi / 4G / 5G radio waves are not suitable.

One of the biggest challenges of Li-Fi is the standardization of protocols. After the finalization of the ITU-G.9991 standard for infrastructure, the industry awaits the finalization of the draft IEEE 802.11bb standard dedicated to mobile devices.