This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston.
Although the use of light in order to transmit data can be limited in comparison to radio waves, there is a great amount of possibilities that can be developed due to this technology. In essence, a single pixel of a monitor could transmit a single channel of information to a source. Although this technology is still in its infant stages, the usefulness of this Li-Fi technology has implications for a great amount of good.
1. Distance - The sheer range of transmitting information could be worth the decrease in data speeds. The RONJA project in the Czech Republic can transmit a 10 Mbit/s Ethernet-type link just under a mile. As developments of this aspect continue, the range could be entirely up to the strength of the light which is emitting the information. Although the speeds are less than what they are for gigabit Ethernet, the power of the beam can allow DVD-quality streaming of video to any location connected to the Li-Fi device.
2. Cost - Instead of running close to a mile worth of cable, the LED-powered Li-Fi connection could be used to beam the information directly to the destination. Using a point-to-point array, office buildings can stay connected to each other without the use of additional cables being laid from one access point to another. The only problem the two buildings would be faced with is obstruction by solid objects or dense weather patterns such as heavy fog or snow.
3. Traffic Updates - Could you imagine having a car that uses a GPS system that receives information from traffic lights informing you of accidents and/or delays up ahead? There is a kind of system like that already in play for GPS navigational systems, but the traffic lights could be updating drivers using basic information or streaming video directly from news broadcasts.
4. Game Consoles - An innovative idea would be to put sensors on a television in order to receive information from game consoles. This would allow the unit to be place literally anywhere within the room as long as there is a direct line of sight to the sensor. Could you imagine a game system like the Xbox using a Kinect and all of it being completely wireless except for the power going into the unit? That will be tackled once wireless energy is perfected for practical home use.
5. Television Interaction - Instead of using apps or additional installations, you could theoretically hold your phone up as you sit on the couch and have every piece of information regarding the show or movie you are currently watching sent to your display – even recording directly to your mobile device. Of course, this may spawn some kind of copyright lawsuit because you are illegally copying a movie or television show, but you still get the idea. There are a number of reasons why investing in Li-Fi technology can have a great benefit to the future of wireless networking. Although there are a few aspects that need to be ironed out before it can be introduced on a wide scale of practicality, the future looks to be very promising. Even if the technology was merely developed as a small scale indoor application to “beam” information directly to a computer system without the use of Ethernet cable being strewn about the floor, visible-light communications could set the benchmark higher for wireless transmissions.
Questions and comments about this blog post can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.