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Li-fi is an innovative idea in IT, one that aims at eventually replacing radio frequency wireless signals with those that come from light sources. This type of technology is still being developed, and may have the potential to introduce vastly improved wireless services.
New reports from the BBC show that Chinese researchers are developing a microchip light bulb that could enable up to 150 Mb per second of data transfer. This idea, also known as visible light communications or VLC, is just being pioneered in various applications. Scientists point out that visible light spectrums are part of the greater electromagnetic spectrum, and that this kind of application of light energy could help to unlock the puzzle of how to offer enough frequency capacity for a seemingly exponential demand.
In terms of its practicality, light-based data transfer would differ from existing radio frequency setups in a key way. Unlike radio energy, light does not penetrate physical barriers. That would require a different model where wireless systems need to be placed in the same room or space as endpoint devices or LAN network pieces. This would involve various pros and cons, but would generally require a pretty big user adjustment and a different idea of how to provision services. Chinese teams are expected to unveil more about Li-fi technology later in the fall of 2013.