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LiFi on its way

Tomasz Cudowski 20 April 2018

Tomasz Cudowski


+48 22 356 25 26

Tomek graduated from the faculty of modern languages at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he also started his journalist career in the late 1980s. He has worked in the real estate press since 2005, covering the residential market for ‘Eurobuild CEE’ magazine as well as the new technologies and property management sectors. Sometimes he can be heard on Polish Radio 2, where he reviews the press on the morning programme. At other times he can be seen in the Bieszczady or Beskid Niski mountains, where he enjoys rambling with no fixed purpose or destination in mind.

EUROPE Philips Lighting has launched its Light Fidelity (LiFi) system for supplying broadband internet through LED lighting and light waves.

LiFi is a rapid, bi-directional wireless system, similar to WiFi but that uses light instead of radio waves for data transmission. Philips Lighting office fittings that feature the LiFi system can provide 30 Mbps of broadband internet without affecting the quality of the lighting. At 30 Mbps the user can simultaneously watch several HD videos online and take a video call. “Radio frequencies are increasingly becoming under strain, whereas the visible spectrum is an untapped resource with a high bandwidth that can provide a stable connection to a wide range of IoT devices at the same time,” claims Olivia Qiu, the general manager of innovation at Philips Lighting. French real estate investor Icade is to be the first company to trial the devices in its smart office in Paris. “We wanted to find out what possibilities LiFi technology can offer to our clients, so we intend to install it in our smart office in La Défense. Along with stable communication, the light quality of key importance to us,” explains Emmanuelle Baboulin, the head of the commercial real estate investment department at Icade. LiFi technology can be used in areas where radio frequencies interfere with the operation of devices (e.g. in hospitals) or where there is no WiFi signal or where it’s weak (e.g. on the underground). LiFi is also more suitable for environments that require a higher level of security, such as financial and government institutions. It is more secure due to the fact that light does not penetrate walls and therefore devices outside the room cannot gain access to the network. The LiFI signal is detected by the LiFi USB hardware key – a receiver connected to the USB port of a laptop or tablet (in the future, these receivers will be embedded into this type of device). The USB LiFi hardware key transmits the user’s own data to the fitting using infrared. A user moving from one part of the office to another will not be disconnected because the signal is transmitted from one light source to another. Philips Lighting’s range now includes its standard office fittings designed to be compatible with LiFi technology, such as PowerBalance Gen2 and Philips LuxSpace.

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