Li-Fi Gets Green Light as IEEE Flicks Switch on 802.11bb Standard

The future of wireless connectivity just got brighter. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has given Li-Fi, a wireless communication technology that uses light waves instead of radio frequencies, the official stamp of approval by approving the 802.11bb standard.

Li-Fi, also known as light fidelity, could be a game-changer. While current Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies to transmit data, Li-Fi uses visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared spectrums. This means Li-Fi can theoretically achieve lightning-fast data rates up to 224 Gbit/s, while even next-gen Wi-Fi 7 taps out at around 30 Gbit/s.

“This is a watershed moment for Li-Fi technology,” said Richard Webb, Director of Network Infrastructure at industry analysis firm CCS Insights. “The approval of an IEEE standard paves the way for seamless integration and interoperability between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi networks. It unlocks exciting possibilities for high-speed, ultra-secure connectivity in homes, offices, and even next-gen technologies like XR and autonomous vehicles.”

Li-Fi has other advantages too. Because it uses light waves instead of radio frequencies, Li-Fi is less susceptible to electromagnetic interference. This makes it ideal for use in sensitive locations like hospitals and airplanes. In fact, back in 2020, Nav Wireless Technology used Li-Fi to transmit important patient data through LED lights in India, reducing doctors’ infection risk.

But Li-Fi isn’t without limitations. Light can’t penetrate opaque objects or travel long distances like radio waves can. This restricts Li-Fi to mostly indoor settings. As Webb noted, “Li-Fi excels at fast, secure communication in confined spaces, while Wi-Fi and cellular remain ideal for long-range transmission.”

Still, with the IEEE’s blessing, the stage is set for Li-Fi to complement Wi-Fi and 4G/5G networks. Li-Fi could supercharge speed and security for indoor wireless access. According to Mordor Intelligence, the market for Li-Fi could reach $4.16 billion by 2026, up from just $295 million in 2020.

As Li-Fi networks ready become mainstream, your office Wi-Fi may seem sluggish by comparison. And “network lag” could become a term of the past. The IEEE standard removes roadblocks to widespread Li-Fi adoption. With the pieces in place, the future looks bright for Li-Fi to deliver speed-of-light connectivity.

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