We’ve all experienced it: sitting down in a crowded cafe, switching over to the free Wi-Fi the bodega supplies, and finding it slow to the point of uselessness… if you can connect at all. It would seem, that with 11 channels available at the 2.4 GHz frequency, and more at the 5 GHz frequency, that there would be enough room for all of us, but that’s simply not the case. What we’re really getting is a saturated network with dozens of users competing with each other for slivers of bandwidth. And while additional frequencies are coming online in the near future (such as WiGig and the 900 MHz frequency), the technology that holds the most potential might be Li-Fi.

Li-Fi uses flickering light to transmit data, specifically the light from a single LED light bulb. The flickering happens faster than the human eye can detect, so the LED bulb can also be used for illumination. To connect, a computer uses a USB dongle, which have been downsized to the same dimensions as a wireless adapter. Li-Fi speeds (at least in laboratory testing) are dramatically faster than any available today, reaching over 200 Gbps. While no Li-Fi equipment is currently available, the technology is expected to be used extensively alongside Wi-Fi in the near future, especially in fields such as healthcare and aviation, where its ability to overcome electromagnetic interference gives it a dramatic advantage.

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