Research at the Li-Fi Centre, University of Edinburgh

A Li-Fi node is built on strong communication and networking capabilities of optical wireless physical and above TCP/IP layers with a clear vision to connect things and everything anytime, everywhere with very minimal capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operation expenditure (OPEX).  Exploiting (using) genuinely the purpose of the light to enable seeing by turning this light to a Scottish horse rider for Internet data to be wirelessly, through free space, carried (sent) anywhere. As the Li-Fi node is integrated with other wireless and radio frequency (RF)–based communication technologies, it is the helping white cane that enables data coming from RF and other wireless communication technologies to be delivered to users in places where RF cannot operate for inherent technological and operational reasons.

Wherever you are, any light source anywhere can be turned into an operational Li-Fi (light) node that can communicate with the rest of the Li-Fi communication network and Internet infrastructure.

Hence the light in a refrigerator can send data regarding the food validity and shortage to another light node in a kitchen or a light embedded in a mobile phone adding to the items on his/her weekly shopping list.

A light node can be integrated with a controller area network (CAN) bus in heavy machines and cars to send critical data to support companies regarding the functionality of the different control and operational components. The front and rear light in vehicles can send data to enable reliable cooperative vehicular communications, enlarging drivers’ road view and enabling users on the move to enjoy full mobile internet network communications.

A light node can send on real-time the magic world of the very far deep underwater and underground. Light nodes enable divers to readily communicate among themselves and with dolphins and other protected sealife.

A light node can send data about petrol reservoirs and nuclear reactors from some kilometres deep. A Li-Fi node can be embedded in security access cards to allow persons to access secured gates/areas.

A light node can enable astronauts to communicate in a free space gravity through light and send data to outer Li-Fi nodes which in turn send it to earth through satellites networks in a reliable and secured manner.

While the light enables eyes to see in the dark, the Li-Fi node uses the light to enable internet users to communicate anytime anywhere in a greener, more secure, safer manner than ever before. Li-Fi communication and networking technology is, therefore, a true enabler of the Internet of Things and ubiquitous communications.

Hamada Alshaer

Li-Fi Research Associate