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Li-Fi, also known as light fidelity, was conceptualized by German physicist and professor Harald Haas. This innovative wireless technology harnesses visible light instead of radio waves to achieve data transmission speeds surpassing terabits per second—over 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. Although its inception dates back to the previous decade, practical demonstrations for commercial viability began to surface around 2015.

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How does it work?

  • Li-Fi operates as a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system, utilizing a photo-detector to receive light signals and a signal processing unit to convert data into usable content. Unlike Wi-Fi, which relies on radio waves, Li-Fi operates through visible light.
  • Data is inputted into an LED light bulb equipped with signal processing technology. This bulb then transmits data, embedded within its light beam, at high speeds to a photo-detector (photodiode).
  • The minute variations in the rapid dimming of LED bulbs are converted by the photo-detector into electrical signals.
  • These signals then convert into a binary data stream that users recognize as web, video, and audio applications commonly used on internet-enabled devices.
  • LED light bulbs function as semiconductor light sources, enabling the modulation of the constant electricity supplied to them. This modulation allows for rapid dimming and brightening at speeds imperceptible to the human eye.


  • Li-Fi could make a huge impact on the internet of things too, with data transferred at much higher levels with even more devices able to connect to one another.
  • Li-Fi offers great promise to overcome the existing limitations of Wi-Fi by providing for data-heavy communication in short ranges.
  • Due to its shorter range, Li-Fi is more secure than Wi-Fi.
  • Since it doesn’t pollute, we can refer to it as an eco-friendly technology for device-to-device communication in the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Li-Fi systems consume less power.

Limitations of Li-Fi

  • Initial limitations of Li-Fi stem from the fact that visual light cannot penetrate opaque objects and relies on direct line of sight for communication, restricting its range significantly.
  • To achieve comprehensive connectivity, more advanced LED bulbs will be necessary at strategic locations.
  • To maintain Li-Fi connectivity, the lightbulbs need to stay on continuously, even during daylight hours.
  • Li-Fi communication may encounter interference from external light sources like sunlight and other bulbs, as well as physical obstructions, leading to potential interruptions in transmission.
  • The deployment of visual light communication systems as an augmentation to existing lighting infrastructure entails high initial installation costs.


The main challenge is setting up a full Li-Fi system, which requires adapting regular smartphones with converters. Also, we need to create and mass-produce a single chip combining light-to-electricity conversion and data processing (like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), aiming for millions in production.

Potential applications

  • Li-Fi in streetlights lets them talk to cars, improving traffic control.
  • Utilizing Li-Fi, traffic lights can communicate with each other, enhancing coordination and efficiency in managing traffic flow.
  • Streetlights and traffic posts can now double as Wi-Fi hotspots, providing better connectivity for people walking or driving.
  • Cars with LED lights can talk to each other, sharing important info to avoid crashes and make roads safer.
  • Li-Fi tech, using visible light, offers safe communication where radio waves aren’t viable, like petrochemical plants, nuclear facilities, and hospitals.
  • In aviation, Li-Fi offers an alternative to radio wave communication systems, potentially enhancing reliability and safety in aircraft operations.
  • Li-Fi works underwater too, beating Wi-Fi’s limits, and offering new possibilities for military and navigation in water.
  • An innovative aspect of Li-Fi is its potential for wireless power transmission, allowing devices like smartphones to not only receive data but also charge wirelessly through Li-Fi connections.

Challenges and opportunity in India

  • Ubiquitous broadband access is lacking in India, limiting data accessibility, while chaotic traffic management contributes to traffic congestion and pollution.
  • Li-Fi technology presents an opportunity to address these issues. By repurposing traffic lights as LED-based access points, traffic management can become intelligent, adaptive, and real-time, resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Similarly, converting street lights into Li-Fi access points can transform them into broadband transmitters, creating seamless hotspots and providing internet access to mobile devices equipped with Li-Fi capabilities. This approach can help expand connectivity and bridge the digital divide in various areas.


If Li-Fi technology becomes widely applicable, each LED lamp, whether indoors or outdoors, could serve as a hotspot, enabling data transmission to every mobile device and facilitating universal broadband communication.

Read also: What is Pink moon and where it can be seen?

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