Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

10 Gbps Li-Fi system shows wireless data transfer in a new light


July 15, 2014

A team from Mexico has achieved transfer rates of 10 Gbps using a visible light Li-Fi system

A team from Mexico has achieved transfer rates of 10 Gbps using a visible light Li-Fi system

Image Gallery (2 images)

Light might be the preferred option for transmitting data over long distances via cables, but when it comes to short range wireless, radio waves rule in the form of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Now Mexican company Sisoft, working with researchers from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), has developed a wireless technology that transmits data in visible light emitted from LED lamps, while lighting the room at the same time.

Called Li-Fi, which is short for light fidelity, the technology is what is known as Visible Light Communication (VLC). Unlike infrared-based systems, VLC involves transmitting data using light visible to the human eye. In this case it is transmitted as intermittent, imperceptible flickers of light emitted by LEDs.

The team started out with audio, cabling up a protoboard table to a smartphone via its 3.5 mm audio jack. The protoboard table converted the audio signal into an optical signal that is transmitted by a special emitter across the spectrum of light generated by an LED lamp. At the receiving end, a receptor located in a speaker captured the signal and converted it back into an audio signal that was played by the speaker.

For wireless internet transmission, the principle is the same but makes use of a receptor device designed to be placed above a router. The router incorporates an LED lamp to transmit data so anyone falling within the halo of light emitted by the LED will be in range. However, only those with a receptor/transmitter device will be able to send and receive the signal.

The Sisoft team says it has used the technology to transmit audio, video and internet at rates of up to 10 gigabits per second. This is an improvement over similar Li-Fi systems developed at Siemens and Pennsylvania State University that achieved transfer rates of 500 Mbps and 1.6 Gbps, respectively.

In addition to its impressive transfer rate, Sisoft also highlights other benefits of the technology. Since the data is transferred via light, there is no way to hack it, making it safer, (although no mention is made of how easy it would be to take a peek at the data someone else is receiving). Additionally, it could be used in areas such as hospitals where radiation equipment can block or disrupt wireless signals. And of course, it provides illumination at the same time.

Source: Sisoft de Mexico

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

It sounds like it could be used to bug a room, and escape detection from ordinary inspections.. it also sounds like the range would be much greater at night with less interference.

Willis Forster

Ludicrously faster than your average internet pipe. Fios @ 15Mbps is good enough for most purposes.

Al Dutcher

TED demonstrated this, but they streamed a HD video using light a few years back. If something happens to blocks the light path however, you'll lose your internet connection.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

This was done back in the 1980's using HID lighting in factories.


The security of light comes from the idea that it's hard to intercept data on fiber without breaking the fiber path. This would not apply in this case as you could intercept the light without breaking the path. The only thing that makes it secure is the extremely short distance it would be capable of operating at.


Just put telescopes on your receivers and parabolic reflector on the transmitter to increase the range.

Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles