The answer is Li-Fi. Researchers are confident that light waves from LED lamps or overhead lights will be able to stream data and connect users to the internet. Wi-Fi networks are dependent on radio waves, a finite source, and are therefore growing more and more congested. While light is a more energy- efficient, and abundant part of the wireless spectrum, it does require a special USB drive to be able to use Li-Fi.
Harald Haas, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, captivated the world with his Ted Talk, given in 2010, which has been viewed nearly 2.4 million times. Haas explains that the LEDs containing this new technology modulates the light’s intensity faster than the human eye can see and can transmit data up to 43 megabits per second. (Average US Broadband speed is 16 Mbps per second.)
Light waves are not able to pass through walls as radio waves do, which will limit the uses of Li-Fi; however, that will make the technology more secure and perfect for some special applications. A unique
USB drive that serves as both a
transmitter and receiver picks up signals from the LEDs and uploads data to them from a connected PC or mobile device. Applications are being developed for airplane cabins and cockpits, and even for outdoor use. Watch for this fast-track technology to be in use by year end.