Li-Fi technology can sit alongside mobile cellular and Wi-Fi to help address rising bandwidth demands, claimed pureLiFi CEO Alistair Banham (pictured), as the company unveiled a new product designed to ignite the “light revolution”.
At a press briefing in London, the company displayed and demonstrated the Li-Fi XC, a USB dongle and access point “three times smaller than the previous generation” of its product line, which can be integrated into many laptops, tablets and smart appliances.
PureLiFi said the miniaturisation of the technology – with the USB dongle working as an access point and providing an infrared connection to an LED light in the ceiling which in turn provided connectivity to a device – “was a step forward in making Li-Fi commercially available”.
The development “will also allow pureLiFi to scale deployments and begin to meet the excitement and demand for the new technology”, claimed the company.
Its overriding vision was to see “every LED connect us to the internet”.
He said Verizon, for example, was using the technology for its emergency response efforts; a French property developer was using it as a “value proposition”; and the defence industry was capitalising on the secure nature of Li-Fi because “unlike radio frequency systems, you can’t jam it”.
“LEDs are pervasive, wherever you have LED we can transmit wireless,” said Banham: “Whether it’s in the car, in the home, in the street, in the office, Li-Fi is the solution to support wireless trends.”
Complementary to Wi-Fi, cellular
The company insisted the solution is not designed to replace Wi-Fi or cellular technologies, but work alongside them to meet increasing demand for bandwidth.
Banham said an airport, for example, could provide a dedicated hotspot underneath an LED light, allowing people to access high-speed capabilities which a public Wi-FI connection in an airport simply wouldn’t be able to provide. Up to eight devices can connect to a single LED light.
Going forward, the company is naturally looking at bringing the technology to the smart home.
“We do see these lights working as smart lights and this is the first step of the role pure Li-Fi can play in the smart lighting revolution,” added CCO Harald Burchardt: “We see ourselves adding a major component of that revolution by adding communications on top of that.”
In the demo, Burchardt connected a tablet placed under an LED light to a tablet using the dongle which was then, in turn, connected to a TV through a Wi-Fi connection.
Burchardt compared Li-Fi to the same fundamentals of a mobile or Wi-Fi connection.
“In the same way that a cellular system expands over an entire city, and Wi-Fi connection expands over an entire building, Li-Fi networks can do exactly the same,” he added: “Users can move from one light to the next and create a cellular communications infrastructure through light.”