You might not realize it, but the internet as it is today is facing an existential crisis, and technology like the kind on display in Philips Lighting's LiFi luminaires offers a potential solution. The impressive technology transmits internet data through pulsing light (rather than radio waves), freeing up valuable bandwidth while also offer breakneck speeds.
The radio seems archaic in comparison to the power of the internet, but modern Wi-Fi uses exactly the same technology. Wi-Fi signals are transmitted using the radio spectrum, which is inherently limited. While there's currently enough bandwidth on that spectrum to handle the rigors of modern internet use, experts predict that radio will fall dramatically short of demand within just 20 years. The light spectrum — the very same one that you likely learned about in elementary science classes — offers 2,600 times the capacity of the radio spectrum, meaning that even the most liberal estimates for society's 20-year bandwidth demands would only take up 0.8 percent of the available bandwidth.
Philips Lighting's LiFi luminaires use incredibly fast, indiscernible pulses of light to transmit internet data, and in clinical trials LiFi can reach speeds well beyond even the most advanced Wi-Fi. The technology is still nascent, though. Philips recently announced a pilot project for its LiFi luminaires, using French company Icade as its guinea pig. With the lights, the office will receive internet at 30 Mbps — not record-breaking, but certainly fast enough to handle the average employee's needs.
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