Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) is a technology that utilizes light to transmit data wirelessly. In simple words, it can turn every light in your office, home, car or even streetlight into a wireless Internet access point. The technology offers high data rates, greater security and a pathway to unlocking access to unprecedented bandwidth and data density.

Li-Fi networks could be deployed to complement the existing networks such as mobile and Wi-Fi networks, providing an additional boost in the capacity. They offer vast advertising and navigational opportunities for businesses, where users of Li-Fi enabled mobile devices can receive relevant information based on their locations.

Unlike traditional telecom devices that use radio frequency signals for data transmission, Li- Fi uses the visible light portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum between 400 and 800THz. Operating at the higher range of the spectrum, it delivers potentially higher capacity throughput of up to 1Gbps while alleviating demand for radio spectrum.

Singapore : A step ahead!

Singapore has proved time and again that the nation is a global leader in the adoption of innovative technologies. The vision to offer their country state-of-the-art wireless communications systems is reinforced by their action to quickly enable strong industry partnerships and an environment conducive to future commercial exploitation.

There has been a growing interest in Li-Fi technology, this is evident from the fact that Singapore’s Info-communications Development Media Authority (IMDA) is waiving frequency fees associated with Li-Fi trials to encourage and facilitate technical trials of this technology within the nation with immediate effect. Earlier this month, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister for Communications and Information, had announced the removal some of the regulatory barriers, saying,

Li-Fi has the potential to complement existing wireless networks to cater to society’s growing demand for higher internet connection speeds.

Edinburgh-based pureLiFi, which recently go funded by Temasek, has been working closely with IMDA to trial its emerging technology. Since its inception in 2012, the firm has released three iterations of their LiFi system including the LiFi-X which consists of the world’s first LiFi dongle and is also available in the form of a LiFi-integrated luminaire resulting from pureLiFi’s partnership with French lighting manufacturer Lucibel. Alistair Banham, CEO, pureLiFi, said,

This step by IMDA could signal the start of new paradigm in the way the world overcomes the bandwidth crunch. LiFi is a technology that will create new markets and merge two huge Industries – Lighting and Communications. This will result not only in new far-reaching commercial opportunities but also enhance the way we live in this mobile and wireless world.

The bandwidth crunch is fast approaching as the number of connected devices like mobile phones, and other smart devices are growing exponentially and predicted to be in excess of 50 billion by 2020. Also, reports suggest, each year the world utilises 50% more wireless data than the previous one, creating an unprecedented demand. LiFi offers a new enhanced layer of super-fast and secure wireless communications. This step by IMDA could signal the start of a new paradigm in the way the world overcomes the bandwidth crunch.

In addition, companies such as StarHub are also working with pureLiFi to explore the possibility of conducting Li-Fi trials in Singapore. Such collaborations will open up more opportunities for Li-Fi adoption and IMDA hopes to see more of such joint-industry trials.

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