The Li-Fi to emerge from the shadows

Light Fidelity technology, which sends and receives data using LED light, is the ultimate wireless technology. It remains to be seen if it will be able to compete with wi-fi or 5G, or if it will simply remain complementary.


After copper wire, radio waves and optical fiber, will light be the future vehicle of digital information? This is the promise of li-fi (abbreviation of “light fidelity”), the equivalent of wi-fi for light. This technology, which will be the star of the Global Li-Fi Congress from June 11 to 13 in Paris, takes advantage of LEDs, these semiconductors capable of lighting up several million times per second without damage and without this being noticeable. for the eye.

The li-fi technology appeared in 2010 in several laboratories. Notably at the Universities of Versailles and Edinburgh, where researcher Harald Haas, also co-founder of PureLifi, invented the term “light fidelity” and introduced the technology for the first time in 2011 : “We used the possibilities offered by LEDs and developed a signal processing technique for the first time to transmit data at very high speed from standard LEDs. ”

The performances, initially mediocre, are now “comparable to those displayed by the wi-fi,” says Sylvain Leroux, Technocentre Orange. Last February the PureLifi presented a chip to transmit information at 1 gigabit / second. In an Oxford lab, researchers have even reached the speed of 224 gigabits per second.

Yet li-fi, the latest in wireless transmission technology, is still unobtrusive. Difficult to make a place for the wi-fi and future 5G. The challenge now is to find uses. Last year, the young company Oledcomm stood out at CES in Las Vegas with its MyLifi desk lamp . This first consumer product has not been successful. “The use cases were very limited,” says Benjamin Azoulay, CEO of the company.


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