BBC News reports that Estonian start-up Velmenni recently completed the first real world test of visible light spectrum-based Wi-Fi. Velmenni used a li-fi-enabled light bulb to transmit data at speeds of 1Gbps. Laboratory tests have shown theoretical speeds of up to 224Gbps.
One of the big advantages of li-fi is the fact that, unlike wi-fi, it does not interfere with other radio signals, so could be utilised on aircraft and in other places where interference is an issue.
While the spectrum for radio waves is in short supply, the visible light spectrum is 10,000 times larger.
Li-fi cannot be deployed outdoors in direct sunlight, because that would interfere with its signal. Neither can the technology travel through walls so initial use is likely to be limited to places where it can be used to supplement wi-fi networks, such as in congested urban areas or places where wi-fi is not safe, such as hospitals.
The technology is already being eyed by airlines for in-flight internet service, where a light-based streaming service would eliminate existing security risks posed by devices sharing the plane’s radio spectrum. The brightly lit, but predominantly interior spaces of airports are another obvious fit for the technology.