How Your Data Can Travel Through Light

Posted 2 years ago

Self PortraitCody Helscel
Blog writer & Web developer

Professor Harald Haas coined the term Li-Fi (meaning Light Fidelity) which is basically the process of transferring data via light waves. The transfer speed is outstandingly fast at rates of around 225 gigabits per second! Now that’s fast.

To put it into perspective, most homes can only go up to a single gigabit per second. That’s at a theoretical best speed. Additionally, few businesses support a 10 gigabit per second speed. That speed is unrealistic for the average home user. 225gbps is light years ahead of any previous given speed! Even so, it’s a theoretical speed since we’re still limited by physical hardware to process data both sent and received.

What about darkness?

One main question people have is about darkness, and what happens when there is no light. In that case, there would not be a path for data to travel. Demonstrations show that if you put your hand in front of the path, the signal stops. In the case of watching a video, the video would simply pause, then resume again when the path is clear.

Li-Fi works by turning an LED on and off again a million times per second to communicate to another device.

Notice the following TED Talk was given in 2011. As we’re heading into 2016, Li-Fi just might be available for everyone. The technology is already here.

As you can see, we need to have a sender and receiver for data to flow through light. The receiver listens for subtle changes in the light’s amplitude. Then, the receiver turns that signal into a data stream to make it useful for us.

Li-Fi has been worked on for a while, and it is ready for testing. But it’s still in early stages. Let’s keep our eyes open as this technology certainly becomes realized. Share this article if you think your friends will enjoy it. Leave comments if your feelings are a little more complex.

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