The Myths About Li-Fi Debunked

As soon as a new technology appears, people start to form ideas about it and from these ideas, myths begin to circulate.  Within no time, we are all sure that a myth is the reality but often, it is founded on misconceptions or a lack of a full understanding of how something works.  L-Fi is a new technology that has already attracted a few myths and here we debunk them with the facts behind the stories.

Li-Fi only work on line of sight

Li-Fi only works when devices are in line of sight to one another, restricting its range and applications.

Fact: While line of sight is an advantage, it isn’t compulsory.  The speed of the system is quicker when there is line of sight but it can still function without it as long as photons can be gathered.  Lower light results in lower data rate only in the same way that Wi-Fi decreases in speed when something interferes with the radio waves.

Special LEDs are needed

The current LEDs being used don’t operate the system and something new and different is required to operate Li-Fi.

Fact: solid state LED and ordinary bulbs work fine on Li-Fi systems while new devices will be introduced to increase efficiency.

Sunlight stops Li-Fi

If you ask someone who thinks Li-Fi will never take off why they think that, one of the most common answers is because the system can’t work in sunlight, meaning it would be useless for half the day, more during the height of summer.  The statement comes from the fact that sunlight can cause interference that has an effect on the efficiency of the system

Fact: The reality is that those developing the system have already developed optical filters that allow Li-Fi to work outside, in the sunlight without any interference from natural sources.  Both analogue and digital filters are used to greatly minimalize the level of interference.

Li-Fi will cause headaches

The idea that Li-Fi causes lights to flicker has led to the assumption that this will cause people to have headaches when around the system.

Fact: Light flicking can affect the speed of the transmissions but at such a level that the human eye could never detect it.  It will be the kind of flicker that is seen from TV screens and computers, which don’t cause any problems because our eyes cannot detect it.

Light means inefficient

Li-Fi uses visible light communication to send and receive data and this means it needs light to function.  As a result, light bulbs need to be left on at all times for the system to work.  In businesses, this isn’t much of an issue but it may be in homes and has led the system to be tagged as ‘energy inefficient’.

Fact: Li-Fi isn’t entirely dependent on bright light and can work in dimmed light conditions.  Even the barest level of lighting can mean the system will work and is so low that you cannot notice the fact that it is operating.  This also means it is of similar efficiency to the system currently used to send and receive the radio waves used in Wi-Fi communications.

Li-Fi only works in one direction

Li-Fi transmissions only work in one direction and therefore to send data and receive data, you need to have two separate systems.  This will mean more lights, more equipment and more possible sources of interference.

Fact: Li-Fi can be used for transmitting data in either direction as the information can be isolated in a number of different ways.  These include wavelength, the time, a code or even by spatial or optical isolation.  In some cases, it might be more efficient to choose to limit the system to one direction transmissions to avoid bottlenecks, common in Wi-Fi systems, say if there is a high amount of data to be downloaded and very little required to go in the other direction.

Li-Fi disrupts other systems

One of the biggest issues with Wi-Fi is that radio waves can interfere with sensitive machinery such as that on airplanes or in hospitals.  This is why smartphones needs to be switched off when entering such a building.  People also believe that Li-Fi could be a disruptive technology, causing problems to other types of equipment particularly to radio waves used in Wi-Fi systems.

Fact: Because Li-Fi uses light and Wi-Fi uses radio, the two systems can work without interfering with each other based on the tests so far conducted.  Li-Fi is also non-disruptive to sensitive systems such as those in hospitals and airplanes and potentially means that signals could to be received to smartphones while on planes and in hospitals without any problems.

Li-Fi is too complicated!

Li-Fi is too complex a system to take off with too much specialist knowledge needed to operate it.  This means that people won’t want it in their homes because they won’t understand how it works.

Fact: While Li-Fi is complicated, so too is Wi-Fi.  Yet we use it every day without thinking about it and, for most of us, without understanding completely how it works.  We connect to the internet and do what we want or use our smartphones to go to social media sites and through apps without ever thinking too much about the system we use.  Li-Fi is exactly the same – once the system is in place and we are told what to do to connect to it, a complicated knowledge of how it works isn’t necessary.

It just won’t work

This myth has been applied to almost every technological advance mankind has produced and for a vast number of them, this myth has been debunked.

Fact: Light is everywhere and a system that uses it to send and receive data has a far greater capacity than the more limited radio waves.  As a result, many great minds are working on transforming this technology into something that can be used in homes and businesses around the world.  The only way it just won’t work is if we don’t give it a chance!