Li-Fi Solves all of Wi-Fi’s Flaws
In our world today we hear the buzz words interconnected and wireless communications quite frequently, but as we continue to exchange vast amounts of data between various devices the entire system which we currently use is almost doomed to collapse at some point.
In a recent episode of one of my favorite new age idea/technology websites, TED Talks, Harold Haas revealed an ultra sophisticated way to transmit data. In order to understand the true advantages the new data transmission technology provides, we must first understand the flaws of our current data communication practices.
Data is everywhere and part of almost everything we do in today’s world. Whether we are talking on the cell phone, Skyping a friend, or commenting on Facebook we are exchanging data. By Haas’s estimates, 600 terabytes of data are transmitted every month with cell phones alone. Currently the majority of our data is exchanged using radio waves. While the same wave that transmits our favorite radio station is not the same wave that will generate the important phone you have been waiting for, it is still in the radio wave spectrum. If we recall the electromagnetic spectrum, radio waves are only a small part of the entire spectrum. Many of these waves are all around in a variety of applications, x-rays in hospitals for example. It is hard to miss the most abundant wave which is light and light is what Haas has proposed we pursue as a new source of data exchange. The major reasons for this proposal are four factors that he outlines in his talk: capacity, availability, efficiency, and security.
With regards to the issues Haas highlights several specific issues exist with each limitations. First, Haas states that the capacity of radio waves is very limited for a multitude of reasons. Devices that transmit radio waves are very expensive to manufacture, they have very limited range, and we have used up the majority of the entire radio wave spectrum already. Availability also causes issues and it is seen by the potential interference caused during flights and in hospitals. Another concern Haas raised related to the efficiency of radio devices. Typically radio transmitting devices are only about 5% efficient with the majority of energy used simply to cool the devices. Finally and maybe most importantly is security. Computers hackers have many sophisticated tools available these days which makes it very simple to hack into Wi-Fi networks and steal information from all devices connected to the network.
Haas’s solution is to use devices that the majority of us use on a daily basis: lightbulbs. As Haas shows in his demonstration, simply by attaching a microprocessor to an ordinary desk lamp with an LED bulb, he is able to transmit HD video to a receiver. He utilizes the power we use on a daily basis to send vast amount of secure data. For example, if you are in your dorm room receiving the data from your lamp light only you can receive that data. This differs from radio waves where many of your neighbors would have access to the same data. Light is also an extremely scalable. Most homes and businesses already have thousands of potential centers for what Haas refers to as Li-Fi.
What I enjoyed most about this video was that this idea was not merely a concept. The demo proves that the technology is already developed it is only a matter of integrating the technology into our devices to solve many of the common problems with our current dependance on radio waves.
To learn more about the great new technology check out the TED Talks video.
Thanks for reading and do not forget to take the quiz!
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