Li-Fi closer to use, say Chinese scientists

A 1W LED lamp could be enough to provide net connectivity to four computers, according to Chinese Li-Fi researchers. 

Li-Fi is similar to Wi-Fi, but uses optical rather than radio frequencies, transmitting data through visible light. Instead of using a Wi-Fi transmitter, it works with LED lamps and a photodetector.

A microchiped lamp can produce data speeds of up to 150Mbps, Chi Nan, IT professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, told Xinhau News.

At these speeds, Li-Fi – also known as visible lighting communications (VLC) – would be faster and cheaper than the average Chinese broadband connection.

‘I think 150Mbps isn’t far-fetched,’ said Dr Wasiu Popoola, Li-Fi researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, ‘considering the fact that I was part of a team that demonstrated a real-time ~130Mbps VLC with an off-the-shelf commercial white LED in 2011.’

‘This claim is yet another demonstration of the global race to take VLC from being a mere lab demo to a real product,’ he added.

Professor Chi’s research team includes scientists from the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her team is hoping to show off sample Li-Fi kits at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai on 5 November, the report said.

The researchers have yet to release any technical data or videos to back up their claims. The wider Li-Fi community is reserving judgement on the claims until more is information is shared.

The 2nd International Workshop: Optical Wireless Communications at Northumbria University in the UK was abuzz with discussions about the research. Dr Popoola said: ‘Surprisingly, no one at the workshop seemed to know any substantial technical details about [Chi’s research team’s] claims or [it’s] technique. To substantiate their claim, I suspect the researchers will soon release some technical details or scientific publications regarding their version of Li-Fi, and then it will become a lot more interesting.’

Fudan University had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication. 

?Pic via Flickr

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