IT Ministry Wants LiFi in India; Tests 10 Gbps Light Based Wireless Internet At IIT-Madras!

LiFi can provide high speed Internet by using light bulbs

LiFi has been tested in India
LiFi has been tested in India

LiFi or Light Fidelity is a wireless communication protocol wherein data is transferred using light from one point to the other. In short, imagine lighting your LED bulb and instantly getting access to high-speed Internet.

In a first of its instance, Ministry of IT & Communication has tested LiFi based Internet, and indications are strong that it will be soon launched in India on a commercial basis.

But, what are the challenges here?

LiFi: A New Beginning In India

Education and Research Network (ERNET), is an autonomous scientific society under the IT Ministry. In association with Philips India and IIT-Madras, ERNET conducted a pilot test at IIT-Madras campus, to gauge the impact and results of LiFi.

It seems that the tests were successful, and further research is currently underway to make it commercially viable.

Neena Pahuja, director general at ERNET said, “One of the biggest use-cases of LiFi could be in the upcoming smart cities in the country, whose underlying theme will be internet of things for modern city management and will be connected by LED bulbs,”

LiFi can be immensely beneficial in deep rural hinterland where broadband connectivity is still not possible, but electricity is present.

Using the existing electric distribution and LED bulbs, LiFi can spread Internet anywhere and everywhere.

The pilot test was conducted few weeks ago in controlled environment, and now, the researchers are collaborating with Indian Institute Of Science for further insights.

Sumit Joshi, managing director at Philips Lighting India said, “We are committed to innovation and continue to explore new and emerging technologies,”

The tests at IIT-Madras was conducted to test 10 Gbps Internet speed using Lights, within a one-km radius.

How LiFi Works & What Are The Challenges?

Professor Harald Haas from University of Edinburgh is regarded as the father of LiFi. He introduced the concept in 2011 during a TED Talk, where he said, “All we need to do is fit a small microchip to every potential illumination device and this would then combine two basic functionalities: illumination and wireless data transmission.’

As per Harald, if the world has 14 billion light bulbs in near future, this will mean 14 billion LiFi sources, which can radiate high speed Internet at a switch of a button.

Seems magical indeed, but there are some challenges as well.

Take for instance penetration of light waves, when confronted with hard objects like walls.

As per ERNET, the solution can be a mesh of lights, which can supply uninterrupted supply and flow of light. Further research is currently underway.

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