Wi-Fi might be on the way out even though Wi-Fi 7 is on the way in. The IEEE standards body that oversees Wi-Fi has released the IEEE 802.11bb light communications standard that will cover the emerging Li-Fi technology. Instead of using wireless network signals, Li-Fi uses invisible (to the human eye, anyway) infrared light to deliver light-based wireless optical connectivity at speeds up to 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.
Light can deliver signals free of radio interference and Li-Fi already has a competing standard, the International Telecommunication Union’s G.9991. The Verge notes that this standard is used with data-beaming bulbs from Signify. Another company called pureLiFi released the Light Antenna One system in February which already meets 802.11bb standards. This is a module that could fit into smartphones and the manufacturer claims that it can deliver data speeds exceeding 1Gbps.
However, Light Antenna One is rated to communicate with devices less than 10 feet away and when transmitting back it has only a 24-degree field of view. Still, the manufacturer of the Light Antenna One says that it is ready “to enable mass integration of Li-Fi for the first time.” Despite the 1Gbps claim from pureLiFi, download data speeds for Li-Fi are said to be as high as 224Gbps which tops the average 40Gbps download speed expected for Wi-Fi 7.
Some of the advantages of Li-Fi includes better security as signals are less likely to leak through walls. Li-Fi transmitters can be easily installed in light fixtures used in offices, and Li-Fi’s higher data speeds certainly would deliver the fast connectivity that Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and gaming devices could benefit from. And besides the faster download speeds, Li-Fi promises to deliver low latencies.
Light Antenna One claims to deliver up to 1Gbps download data speed using Li-Fi
This is just the beginning of Li-Fi and in a few years, we might be talking about the technology with the same familiarity we use when talking about Wi-Fi.