Genesis of LI-FI:
Harald Haas, a professor at the University of Edinburgh who began his research in the field in 2004, gave a debut demonstration of what he called a Li-Fi prototype at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh on 12th July 2011. He used a table lamp with an LED bulb to transmit a video of blooming flowers that was then projected onto a screen behind him. During the event he periodically blocked the light from lamp to prove that the lamp was indeed the source of incoming data. At TEDGlobal, Haas demonstrated a data rate of transmission of around 10Mbps — comparable to a fairly good UK broadband connection. Two months later he achieved 123Mbps.
How Li-Fi Works?
Li-Fi is typically implemented using white LED light bulbs at the downlink transmitter. These devices are normally used for illumination only by applying a constant current. However, by fast and subtle variations of the current, the optical output can be made to vary at extremely high speeds. This very property of optical current is used in Li-Fi setup. The operational procedure is very simple-, if the LED is on, you transmit a digital 1, if it’s off you transmit a 0. The LEDs can be switched on and off very quickly, which gives nice opportunities for transmitting data. Hence all that is required is some LEDs and a controller that code data into those LEDs. All one has to do is to vary the rate at which the LED’s flicker depending upon the data we want to encode. Further enhancements can be made in this method, like using an array of LEDs for parallel data transmission, or using mixtures of red, green and blue LEDs to alter the light’s frequency with each frequency encoding a different data channel. Such advancements promise a theoretical speed of 10 Gbps – meaning one can download a full high-definition film in just 30 seconds.
TTo further get a grasp of Li-Fi consider an IR remote.(fig 3.3). It sends a single data stream of bits at the rate of 10,000-20,000 bps. Now replace the IR LED with a Light Box containing a large LED array. This system, fig 3.4, is capable of sending thousands of such streams at very fast rate.
Light is inherently safe and can be used in places where radio frequency communication is often deemed problematic, such as in aircraft cabins or hospitals. So visible light communication not only has the potential to solve the problem of lack of spectrum space, but can also enable novel application. The visible light spectrum is unused, it’s not regulated, and can be used for communication at very high speeds.
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