Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) technology is changing the face of communications in rugged mobiles. Li-Fi offers more security, better privacy, faster downloads, less interference with safety-critical equipment and minimal cabling requirements compared to Wi-Fi.
How Li-Fi Works
Li-Fi is a type of wireless connection that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to transmit data. When an electrical current goes through to an LED light bulb, a stream of light (photons) emits from the lamp. LED bulbs are semiconductor devices. The brightness of the light flowing through them can change at extremely high speeds and the signal is sent by modulating the light at different rates. The signal is captured by a detector which interprets the changes in light intensity as data.
The visible light beams take advantage of the greater light spectrum bandwidth capacity compared to the radio waves used by Wi-Fi. Radio waves have been used by traditional technologies such as Wi-Fi, LTE, 4G and 5G.
The advantages of Li-Fi over radio frequency include:
Better Privacy and More Security
Radio waves can’t be controlled as easily as light so it’s less likely that data will be hacked or hijacked. Organisations have better control over network localisations and asset tracking.
Advanced applications using augmented reality and virtual reality are possible with light-based data connections which have much lower latency than technology that relies on radio frequency.
Li-Fi can be up to 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.
Early Adopters of Li-Fi Technology
Several sectors have taken a keen interest in rugged devices with Li-Fi connectivity for the benefits it offers. Getac is working with organisations in the following industries to provide solutions to their challenges by combining Li-Fi technology with Getac’s rugged devices.
Automotive: the use of Li-Fi means vehicle firmware can be upgraded with uninterrupted data downloads.
Manufacturing: equipment that relies on radio frequencies have the potential to interfere with safety-critical operations but the use of Li-Fi eliminates the risk.
Emergency services: collect and transmit data quickly in emergency situations
Defence: an industry that requires the highest level of security was quick to adopt Li-Fi because of its minimal cabling requirements
The Beginning of LiFi
Li-Fi was first available via a USB dongle plugged into the side of a device. As with all USB solutions, it was vulnerable to slight knocks, drops and was unsuitable for working in the harsh conditions that require rugged devices. Getac worked to integrate the technology into its devices. The first model they used with the Li-Fi chip is the UX10 fully rugged tablet.
Getac announced the launch of integrated Li-Fi in its devices in late October 2020 from its Taipei City head office. Getac had made a commitment one year earlier that it would evaluate the possibility of integrating the transceivers into their equipment. It believed that the technology was being held back due to the use of a USB dongle. Getac worked with Scottish pioneers of LiFi technology, pureLiFi, to embed LiFi chips into their devices.
Air France has trialled LiFi technology on an internal flight. French vendor Oledcomm supplied the technology to provide onboard internet services. Some of the ceiling mounted light transmitters didn’t aim at the device dongles that work as receivers but the companies weren’t deterred in making the technology standard in future flights.
Li-Fi allows airlines to avoid the potential radio interference with flight or control systems that comes with radio waves of Wi-Fi and cellular. It also cuts down on cabling and the weight that comes with it.
Li-Fi was first introduced to the world in 2011 when Professor Harald Haas made a Li-Fi demonstration at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Global Talk on Visible Light Communication (VLC).
The future of Li-Fi is bright with the range of benefits it offers over WiFi. Getac is well positioned to take the lead. It has been manufacturing rugged computers since 1989, supplying laptops, computers and tablet computers for use in some of the most challenging environments.
Need Some Help?
If you would like to know more about Li-Fi enabled devices and how they could work for your organisation, speak to the rugged hardware experts at Roaming Technologies by calling 1300 131 933 or contact us online.