If you’ve never heard of LiFi, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The technology is still in its infancy, but researchers are quickly paving way to perfecting this new communication medium.

LiFi, a nickname given to technology that uses Visible Light Communication (VLC), is basically the ability to transmit data wirelessly using light waves similar to how WiFi uses radio waves.

Recently a team of researchers lead by Herald Hass, Professor at the University of Edinburgh and Chief Science Officer/Co-Founder of pureLiFi, has demonstrated that up to 1.1 gigabits per second (Gbps) can be transmitted through LiFi.  His team used the light waves from a micro LED over a distance of 32.8 feet (10 meters) using less than half a watt in power (only 5% of the power of a typical 10W LED light bulb).

The power-usage and distance from transmission source in this experiment shows two new discoveries:

1. The light levels can be dimmed down significantly while still maintaining high data transmission rates

2. The distance (10 meters) at which the 1 Gbps transfer can occur is 10 times larger than what was previously reported.

In March, Li-1st made its debut as the world’s first commercial LiFi product. The Li-1st is a high-speed, bidirectional optical wireless system with the ability to operate with a variety of commercially available LED lamps. It comes with an IP-enabled ceiling unit and a desktop device that connects via USB.

In a press release on LEDsmagazine.com, Prof. Hass said,

“Li-Fi is revolutionising wireless communications and showing that Li-Fi can be the enabler of the emerging Internet of Everything. By transmitting data at speeds above 1 Gbps and record distances of 10 metres at a fraction of the power of typical LED bulbs, we continue to make the technological leaps and bounds that make Li-Fi a technology that could transform the way we use the internet in the near future.”


A graphic from PureLiFi explaining how VLC works.

A graphic from PureLiFi explaining how VLC works.