Li-fi could be the future of connectivity for indoor spaces, so what is it and how can we prepare for this new form of connectivity to transform our lives?

We’re so accustomed to wi-fi and high-speed Internet on our phones, that we forget that the way we connect isn’t necessarily the best or most efficient way for our planet. As the world moves towards 5G mobile Internet, tech companies across the globe are looking for the best way to power such a service, hoping to improve connectivity and extend the privilege to all areas and communities. Enter the new phase of li-fi Internet.

The light-bulb moment

The telecoms company O2 has recently installed a demo trialling a wireless Internet connection through a system that transmits data through light waves instead of radio waves – known as their “light-bulb moment”.

The mobile operator thinks this new system could improve the speed of wireless internet and extend 5G to indoor locations currently outside the reach of mobile signals. O2 suggests that li-fi could be 100 times faster than wi-fi as we know it, and 400 times faster than the average broadband speed in the UK.

Unlike wi-fi, tablets, laptops and mobile phones would need to use a special dongle to pick up the light signals. O2 confirms that li-fi is not intended to replace wi-fi, but to help target indoor areas using special lightbulbs to provide better connection and data rates when 5G is implemented.

Is li-fi a game-changer for 5G Internet?

According to experts, the potential for li-fi to transform the technology market is endless. Li-fi bulbs could replace regular street lamps to bring better Internet to well-populated urban areas. It could also be used to power the Internet of Things, offering connectivity to driverless cars or connecting wireless devices to data centres. Li-fi could even be extended to hospitals to connect healthcare devices to local networks rather than depending on unreliable wi-fi or using hazardous cables.

Li-fi could also improve connectivity in places where radio signals can’t reach, such as tunnels and underground trains. In this instance, li-fi would be supported with Internet-enabled tunnel lighting.

When will it be rolled out?

Although there is speculation and doubt about when 5G will be rolled out, it is predicted to be available some time in 2019. This is too early for li-fi to be introduced however, as the technology is only just being trialled. Experts say that light connectivity sensors would need to be built into devices for the technology to take off, which is some way off.

There are certainly obstacles and issues getting in the way of li-fi becoming a pioneering connectivity device, but that doesn’t stop tech companies exploring the possibilities.

The future of connectivity may be uncertain, but from here it looks light! For the latest on connectivity, and to prepare your data for the changes in technology ahead, contact City Business Solutions today. We know the latest technology trends to watch out for, so we can help you manage your business at optimum efficiency and stay ahead of the curve.