Li-Fi Breakthrough in China could Turn every LED Bulb into Internet Hotspot

China may have just made the biggest technology breakthrough yet in visible light communication (VLC) technology. The new technology, which offers mind bogglingly high real-time speed, makes use of a very ubiquitous resource – light from a lamp. If all goes according to plan with this milestone development, people in China could download a high-definition (HD) Hollywood movie in just a 0.3 second. The Li-Fi system, developed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Information Engineering University, has now entered the design integration and micromation phase.

In order to assess the feasibility of this technology being deployed on commercial scale, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently conducted a few tests, which returned encouraging results. According to officials from the Ministry, the real-time traffic rate of the VLC system developed by Chinese researchers stands at about 50 gigabytes per second (Gbps). This also marks the highest real-time speed that China has ever had access to.

The Chinese technology is reportedly decidedly superior to the one developed by a team of scientists from Mexico in August 2014. The Mexican scientists had broken a new record with technology that could transmit data at 10 Gbps.

However, with the Chinese breakthrough firmly on course to creating a new internet reality in the world’s second largest economy, scientists and ISPs alike are eager to explore this technology further. Recent media reports quoted Wu Jiangxing, an IT expert, as saying that the USP of the VLC network is that it will make use of the billions of LED lamps and bulbs already in use not just in China, but across the world.

The technology empowers every light bulb to function as an access point for high-speed internet. In simple terms, each bulb will serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot. This possibility further establishes the limitless applications of the new VLC technology, especially in areas where internet access still remains tardy. According to the Chinese scientists behind the breakthrough, the technology consumes only a fraction of the energy that’s needed to power radio.


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