Li-Fi pioneer PureLiFi is focused on delivering internet access through lights, and it just demonstrated the technology at MWC 2018 integrated into a laptop and a phone case for the first time.
There are various potential applications for Li-Fi, but the main drive for its adoption comes from the impending spectrum crunch which will see radio frequencies stretched to the limit. It can also prove useful in environments where radio frequencies are dangerous or suffer too much interference, it offers enormous bandwidth in a small area, and it can be secured far more easily than Wi-Fi — because the signal is confined to the light.
We’ve tested out the LiFi-XC dongle with Li-Fi capable LED lights before, but it plugs in via USB. This time around we were able to stream video from the Digital Trends website via an overhead strip light, on a modified Dell laptop and a Samsung Galaxy S5 in a special case fitted out with the Li-Fi receiver. It’s capable of delivering speeds of up to 42Mbps up and down and we had no trouble streaming the latest Galaxy S9 hands-on review.
PureLiFi has been in talks with various manufacturers about embedding the technology into devices, but it’s not discussing specific partnerships just yet. Integrating the tech into the phone case and laptop is about showing off the concept and how it works. The receiver is still quite big, so it’s easier to integrate into a laptop than a smartphone, but the firm is working on further miniaturization, so that’s the longer term goal. We’re expecting to see Li-Fi enabled phones within the next three years, and adoption by a major player could see Li-Fi take off rapidly.
If you’d like to learn more about the technology, check out some of our earlier pieces on PureLiFi. We first encountered PureLiFi back at MWC 2016, at MWC last year we gave it our cool tech award, and in December we visited the Edinburgh office to see the new LiFi-XC dongle.
This latest demo is another step towards Li-Fi realizing its potential as a complementary technology to Wi-Fi, ensuring that we always have a fast internet connection.