LiFi technology can transfer data through light waves.

Signify, Sony’s subsidiary responsible for the development of the Hue line of connected bulbs has announced a new category of Internet transmission called Truelifi, according to TheVerge. This system is based on LiFi technology, very different from current technologies such as WiFi or 4G. If they use radio waves as a data carrier, the LiFi uses light waves! Truelifi bulbs will, therefore, transfer data up to 150 Mbps to devices such as laptops. The technology works even better between two fixed points since the bit rates would reach 250 Mbps in this case.

The product line should include Truelifi bulbs carrying this technology, as well as transceivers to upgrade existing lighting. It will take a specific USB key to use a LiFi network.

Sectors already interested

If it should be available to individuals, it should primarily address professionals. In particular, some places could derive a real benefit from this system. We immediately think of hospitals, where radio frequencies can be a real problem because of the interference they generate. This technique would also have the advantage of operating in places where radio interference is common and could impair the quality of the WiFi signal.

Another advantage, less obvious, stems directly from one of its most flagrant faults. Because it uses light waves rather than radio waves to transfer waves, LiFi signals are much more easily blocked than their WiFi counterparts. This has the advantage of making the broadcast of this signal much more predictable, and thus give much more control to the administrator on its accessibility.

Even if it appears resolutely futuristic, this technology is already in the box for a few years. In 2011, Harald Haas – an engineering researcher at the University of Edinburgh, a precursor in the field – was already giving a TED talk about this technology.