attaining 10 Gbps speeds, and with the available
bandwidth potential, data transmission speeds up to 100
times faster will be possible in the near future.
The modular nature of Linmore’s LED light bars (Figure
2) allowed for the integration of LiFi modules in the ideal
position on the light bar, without affecting critical aspects
like lighting distribution, thermal dissipation or overall
The ability for an LED fixture to transmit data could
give a further boost to LED lights. Retrofit fixtures, even
those not LiFi-enabled, are in great demand as many
facilities seek to drive down energy costs up to 70-80
percent, by converting to LED technology. This trend is
also being driven by the increased operating life of LEDs
and concerns about the toxic mercury utilized within
fluorescent lamps that complicate disposal.
This provides a realistic scenario, where building owners
and facility managers can adopt LiFi technology while
dramatically decreasing lighting-related energy costs.
LiFi could potentially yield favorable economics for
businesses wanting to leverage an LED upgrade and
get more than just lighting. Utilizing an existing part
of a building’s infrastructure—lighting—opens up
endless possibilities for many other technologies to
have a deployment backbone. Internet of Things (Io T),
RFID, product and people movement systems, facility
maintenance, and a host of other technologies are taken to
the next level, with LiFi available throughout a facility.
Philips Lighting, a larger supplier of light bulbs, has
deployed 20 of its luminaires to provide WiFi services
at the offices of French real estate company Icade.
Each luminaire is equipped with a built-in modem that
modulates light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye.
The light is detected by a LiFi USB key/dongle plugged
into the socket of a laptop or tablet. The LiFi USB dongle
returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link.
Figure 3 shows how Philips’ LED luminaires operate.
According to Philips Lighting, their LiFi-enabled LEDs
can transmit data at rates of 30 megabytes per second
between the LEDs and a LiFi-enabled dongle attached to
a computer of tablet.
On the networking end, Firefly LiFi, San Diego,
which makes visible light communications and infrared
light communications products, recently announced
development of a low-cost, wireless backhaul bridge
for 5G Smart City networks and the security camera
network, using LED technology. The solution helps
designers building-to-building or light pole-to-light pole
backhaul networks of WiFi, LiFi, 5G LTE, and IP security
cameras—using light spectrum to carry the data.
One of the biggest potential advantages for LiFi
is security. LiFi is considered a more secure data
transmission form than WiFi, because a receiving device
must be directly within the cone of light to receive a
Figure 2: Linmore LED’s LiFi-enabled light bar fits into fluorescent
fixtures, giving it the platform for rapid adoption in many
Figure 3: In Philips’ LED luminaire, a built-in modem modulates the
light at speeds imperceptible to the human eye. A LiFi USB key/
dongle plugged socket of a laptop or tablet returns data to the
luminaire through an infrared link.