Li-Fi vs Wi-Fi: what are the differences

Wireless networks play a very important role today. We have different technologies that allow us to send and receive information wirelessly, as well as connect to the Internet. In this article we are going to talk about two of them. We are going to explain what are the differences between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi. They are two terms that may be similar by name, but have some points of their own.

What is Wi-Fi Wi-Fi technology is the most common today when we talk about wireless connections. There are more and more compatible devices, such as computers, mobile phones, tablets… It allows devices to connect with each other and also have Internet access. Over time, different Wi-Fi versions have emerged and all of them are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. For example, Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6. The main objective is to establish connections without the need to use network cables, which provides an important range of possibilities. Although we directly relate Wi-Fi technology to the Internet, the truth is that we can also connect devices to each other without having to be to navigate. For example, if we connect a video camera to our mobile to show the content we have recorded. We can use this wireless technology and thus avoid having to remove the memory card or connect it by cable.

But yes, basically the main thing about Wi-Fi is to connect the devices to the router and be able to access the Internet. For this to be possible, different essential points come into play: the access point (which would be the router), the device with which we connect (which would be the computer, mobile or any other device) and a network card installed on it. device. This allows data to be exchanged via radio signal. These waves can work on the frequency of 2.4 or 5 GHz, but they are also divided into different channels. Our computer or mobile will send a request to the router and in this way it will receive the data through radio waves wirelessly.

Advantages of Wi-Fi networks Wi-Fi networks have become a very important part of our lives. Virtually everyone has one, and no wonder. These offer a series of advantages, which make Wi-Fi networks very versatile technologies, as well as comfortable to use in all homes. Some of these advantages that they do not provide are: Wireless connection: It is the main advantage of Wi-Fi networks, allowing connection to the Internet and between devices without the need to use a cable. This means that users can move freely around a room or space without worrying about cables. Easy access: Wi-Fi networks are generally easy to set up, but also to manage. This tells us that practically any user can create a Wi-Fi network in their home or business, without the need for highly advanced knowledge. Shared access: These allow different devices to interconnect to a network, and thus share data within it. This means that different people can access that network and work with its resources simultaneously. Flexibility: A Wi-Fi can be configured in many different places, such as homes, offices, shopping centers, airports, cafeterias, among others. This means that we can connect to the Internet from practically anywhere with a Wi-Fi network.

Speed: Over time, Wi-Fi networks have been gaining in connection speed. They are even faster than some connections that are transmitted by cable. This is very useful for users who require these high speeds. As it can be to play online video games, content creators, or to telework. Mobility: Wi-Fi networks can be used on a wide variety of different devices. This makes it possible for users to access the Internet and other computers from anywhere, anytime. What is Li-Fi? On the other hand, another different technology is what is known as Li-Fi. In this case, the information that we send and receive does not travel through waves, but through light. It is newer than Wi-Fi and is based on LED lighting. It has important advantages since it will avoid electromagnetic interference when there are other devices nearby. This is one of the problems that affect Wi-Fi, as we can see if we try to connect from a mobile next to a working microwave, for example.

Therefore, we can basically say that Li-Fi technology takes advantage of visible light. In certain investigations they have been able to reach 10 Gbps speed. This allows information to be sent very quickly through optical signals. To reach these speeds, the bulbs have to blink thousands of times per second. However, this is imperceptible to the human eye and we simply see a light on. Instead, what is actually happening is that each blink of the light is as if it were emitting signals of zeros and ones. If we think about the advantages, one of them is what we have mentioned about the reduction of interference. The maximum speed that can be reached, as well as safety, is also a positive point. But of course, not everything will be positive. If we think about the negative points, one of them is that it takes a large number of bulbs to cover an area. In addition, it will always have to receive light. Although it would have to be on, it could even be dimmed to the point where it would not be visible to the naked eye. Differences between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi We have seen what Wi-Fi technology consists of, which is the best known and most popular, and Li-Fi, newer and much less used today. Now we are going to explain what are the main differences between both technologies.

Data delivery mode A clear difference is when transferring information from one device to another. In the case of Wi-Fi, this data travels through radio signals. They use the frequency of 2.4 or 5 GHz to send and receive information between devices without using cables. Instead, Li-Fi technology uses light signals to send data. LED bulbs are essential to be able to send that information without using wiring. Distance Distance is a very important factor and here we are going to find important differences. Not all wireless networks have the same capabilities. If we think about NFC technology, which barely reaches a few centimeters, and we compare it with Bluetooth, we will see clear differences. Something like this happens with Wi-Fi and Li-Fi. In the first case we can reach even tens of meters. Normally a home router will be able to send a signal to about 30 meters. Everything will depend on the capacity of the antennas and the possible obstacles that exist. However, in the case of Li-Fi this is more limited. We will not be able to have more than 10 meters. After all, what we are sending and receiving is light. This will also cause that as soon as there is a wall it is impossible.

interference We are also going to find important differences in terms of interference. Wi-Fi is a technology that can be affected when there are many devices nearby. For example, if there are many computers connected to a router at the same time or if there are even neighbors who use the same channel in their connections. In the case of Li-Fi technology, there is no direct interference with other devices, although there are problems with light. For example, it would not work in direct sunlight, something that would greatly limit its use.

actual use What is each technology actually used for? In the case of Wi-Fi, its use is very broad. Beyond being able to connect to the Internet from multiple devices, we can also connect video cameras, printers, etc. It is used by both home users and companies and organizations. Li-Fi technology, at least today, is very limited. Especially it is used by airlines, submarine exploitations and for testing. It is not something that is present among home users at the moment. Security In terms of security there are also differences. Wi-Fi networks are notorious for having certain problems. After all, we can connect from a greater distance and also without having to be physically in that place. For example, we can try to access the network of a neighbor or a store. On the other hand, Li-Fi technology is safer in this sense. It is essential that there is visual contact, since basically what it emits is light. As soon as there is a wall, it can no longer pass through the information. Therefore, as we have seen, there are differences between Wi-Fi and Li-Fi technology. The first is the one we use the most in our day to day, while the second is more of a future alternative. There are very different key points between the two.