Your next Wi-Fi router could be a light bulb thanks to the new LiFi framework

in General Discussion

LiFi has been around for quite some time, but it hasn't quite hit the same household name status as WiFi. That may change now that it has an industry standard.

LiFi could let us ditch the aging antenna covered router
LiFi could let us ditch the aging antenna covered router

One major milestone for any product is getting it out into the wild and not just into the homes of people building it. That's certainly the same for LiFi, which Apple experimented with all the way back in 2016 for future iPhone models.

While Apple may or may not do anything with LiFi, the industry around it has something to celebrate. On July 12, global LiFi technology firms Fraunhofer HHI and pureLiFi helped usher in the release of IEEE 802.11bb.

With this newly recognized framework, it is a standard that can sit comfortably next to IEEE 802.11 WiFi.

The IEEE 802.11bb standard defines a couple of different things. First, system architectures, and second, physical layer specifications for wireless communication that utilizes light waves instead of radio frequencies.

With this new milestone reached, it means LiFi can use this foundation to help find a better footing for consumer support and widespread adoption.

Nikola Serafimovski, pureLiFi's VP of Standardization, had this to say on the moment:

"The release of the IEEE 802.11bb standard is a significant moment for the wireless communications industry. Through the activity of the 802.11bb task group, LiFi attracted interest from some of the biggest industry players ranging from semiconductor companies to leading mobile phone manufacturers. We worked with these key stakeholders to create a standard that will provide what the industry needs to adopt LiFi at scale. I would like to thank the support of Tuncer Baykas as Vice-Chair, and Volker Jungnickel as technical editor for helping make this process so successful."

LiFi is a wireless technology that relies on light waves, rather than radio frequencies, to transmit data in an area. LiFi is designed to offer up even faster data transmissions, along with even more reliable connections and better security than existing wireless technologies like WiFi.

Both pureLiFi and Fraunhofer HHI have been at the forefront of developing LiFi, including forming an 802.11bb Task Group to help with that effort. These companies believe that with this new standard in place, interoperability between LiFi equipment, and even WiFi options, should be commonplace at some point in the future.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 8
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,342member
    This sounds very cool, but threatens trolls — who generally prefer to ply their worthless trade in darkness. :)
  • Reply 2 of 8
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 431administrator
    chasm said:
    This sounds very cool, but threatens trolls — who generally prefer to ply their worthless trade in darkness. :)
    My Hue lights have power even if they're not illuminated 🙂
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Using Light to transfer data is pretty crazy but real.  Here's the good news - you would just have to change the bulb.  This one would need Governmental implementation,but they did it once, data transfer is Light.  First step to self driving cars.  It's Solaris coded in C or C++
  • Reply 4 of 8
    • windows: C++
    • linux: C
    • mac: Objective C
    • Solaris: C, C++
    • iOS: Objective C, Swift (which is identical to Objective C), C, C++

    I don't know why they did not go with Objective C - It is the most sound computer language.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,729member
    Interesting. LiFi works in the visible range, but also in infrared and ultraviolet range, it seems. Also, a direct line of sight is not required (at least in the visible range) as light reflected from walls still work - according to Wikipedia up to 70MBit, so far. Visible also does not mean illuminating the room, as they can be dimmed to a point where the light cannot be perceived any more. Regarding what receivers require (e.g. phone) and about sending back to the „light bulb“ I did not find something on first glance. 
  • Reply 6 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,286member
    So doing some patent searches revealed that Samsung has already put in substantial work on LiFi beginning nearly 20 years ago. By 2010 they had two dozen patents for it, far more than any other company, and so many more issued since then. Obviously, this isn't as new as I had thought, and that makes the odds good that things can hit the ground running now that a standard has been established.  Gosh, it opens up so many possibilities, indoors or out on the street!
    edited July 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 8
    brianjobrianjo Posts: 45member
    Apple used to have Powerbooks with built in light based networking, and it operated at the same speed as wired LocalTalk, a whopping 230.4kbps. The next iteration brought IrDA which was an industry standard that allowed communication to other devices beyond just between macs. Speed was increased to 4Mbps which made it quite useful for file transfers.  This was especially useful, as WIFI wasn't in many machines yet.

    The line of sight limitation was often a challenge, but on the same token, limiting to line of sight at the time was a handy security method to prevent others from connecting to your machine.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,423member
    Anything that can be modulated to represent at least two distinct states and conveyed via a medium can theoretically be used for communication. Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, as are radio frequencies, so using light for communication is simply an extension of existing electromagnetic communication theory, science, and engineering. Lidar follows the same fundamental electromagnetic science as does radar. In terms of using light for communication, naval and maritime signal lights have been used to communicate between ships and between ships and shore since the mid 1800s.

    Other forms of communication exploit other mediums and science including magnetism with inductive couplers, pressure waves, i.e., sound, through solids, water, and gas, sonar used for Morse code, underwater telephone that modulates voice communication on a carrier frequency, voice tubes to communicate between the ships bridge and the engine room, sound powered telephones, smoke signals, semaphore flags, etc. There has even been studies done to examine the use of plumbing water pipes for communication. We're all familiar with power line modems that modulate signals on top of your home electric wiring to span communicate using modems between locations where running an ethernet cable is too difficult or costly to run. I'm assuming a similar modem based strategy could be used to turn your existing light fixtures into access points for LiFi.

    Of course there are also communication techniques that take a hybrid or multi-media approach to span different communication mediums, for example, the use of laser to sense the physical (sound) vibrations imparted on the window glass of a supposedly secure room to remotely detect what those in the room are talking about. 
Sign In or Register to comment.