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The Feasibility of Light Fidelity Replacing WiFi


WIFI’s reliance on radio frequencies for data transmission has two significant limitations. First, the amount of data that can be transferred at a time is limited; and second, radiofrequency resources are constrained, which might lower WIFI capacity to transmit data in the future. One of the solutions to this problem is through the use of visible light illumination. Light Fidelity (LIFI) is a recently developed innovation that utilizes the light spectrum – visible to convey information. Since it is considered a viable replacement for WIFI, it should, at the minimum, demonstrate the capability to address the challenges posed by WIFI. A cost-benefit analysis is warranted to determine the feasibility of replacing WIFI with LIFI. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the feasibility of LIFI replacing WIFI. The writing evaluates the system’s strengths and weaknesses and compares them to WIFI’s strengths and limitations. A feasibility study would help identify new opportunities to facilitate the widespread use of LIFI.

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The problem was evaluated through a review of studies about the area of interest conclusively. Some of the databases used in this particular activity included arXiv, IEEE Xplore, and ACM Digital Library. The keywords for this particular search method included LIFI, WIFI, VLC, LED, and Wireless communication. Articles older than five years and those that did not directly address the benefits or weaknesses of WIFI or LIFI were excluded from the survey. The inclusion criteria included research that directly addressed WIFI’s strengths and weaknesses or the strengths and weaknesses of LIFI.

Literature Review

Various factors can inhibit the adoption of technology; these aspects include reliability, cost, performance, and value proof. Reliability refers to the probability of a system to operate or function as expected under the stated conditions and time. A system’s reliability depends on the seamless collaboration of the system’s individual components to maximize its output. To determine the reliability of LIFI, Soltani et al. (2019) analyzed the orientation and significance of the system’s components on LIFI’s performance. This study’s outcomes demonstrated that the optic wireless communication (OWC) channel’s reliability was highly-dependent on the presence and configuration of the line of sight (LOS).

LIFI’s dependence on LOS is problematic because it (LOS) limits the system’s ability to function optimally. OWC reliability and the subsequent functioning of the LIFI system are highly-dependent on LOS. The findings in a survey by Abdullah et al. (2020) support this particular viewpoint. According to the above-mentioned study outcomes, LIFI’s performance is somewhat suboptimal due to its reliance on LOS. The researchers revealed that the system’s transmission range would relatively increase with the LED light intensity.

Other pieces of research also highlight LIFI’s dependence on LOS as a shortcoming to its efficiency. For example, Bin (2018) identified a Line of Sight as an implementation barrier. These findings complemented the outcomes of the survey by Abdullah et al. (2020). The challenges delineated above impact this technology’s optimal functionality because, according to Abdullah et al. (2020), LOS was not only a limitation to the performance of LIFI but also an implementation barrier. A common theme identified in these studies is that all the drawbacks of LIFI emanate from its reliance on LOS for transmission. For example, various studies revealed the constrained nature of a device’s mobility when using LIFI (Bin, 2018; Egjam et al., 2015). The restriction on device mobility can be attributed to shifting the sightline, which interrupts the signal.

Although the LIFI dependence on LOS is seemingly an impediment, its efficiency has not been compromised. Furthermore, significant advancements are still being made on the technology to enhance its efficiency. For instance, Professor Harald Haas, the developer of LIFI, recently developed an algorithm that prevents spectral efficiency loss by 50% when the LED is turned on (Bin, 2018). The algorithm allows for energy savings, which makes the system’s performance more efficient.

Multiple surveys that aim to highlight the feasibility of this innovation in practice have also been conducted. For instance, Memon et al. (2017) performed a study to ascertain the feasibility of LIFI in the modern world by evaluating the standardization process, market acceptance, and production trends. This particular survey’s outcomes linked LIFI’s practicability with leaps in data rates in less than a decade. The aforementioned findings were consistent with the notion that light has a wider bandwidth than radiofrequency waves. The outcomes showed that the bandwidth of LIFI is 10,000 more than radio waves; it is also 1000 times broader than the information/data density of WIFI (Abdullah et al., 2020; Bin, 2018; Egjam et al., 2015; Memon et al., 2017). The system’s hardware has also gone through a revolutionary range, with the size being reduced to over 50% (Memon et al., 2017). Other benefits of the system include efficiency, transmission capacity, cost-effectiveness, and security (Abdullah et al., 2020; Bin, 2018; Egjam et al., 2015; Memon et al., 2017). The cost of LED lights is also relatively cheap, and the VLC can reduce the architecture cost for a hotspot.

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Every technological system has its unique limitations and opportunities. The finding of this study shows that the main drawback of LIFI is its reliance on LOS. Because the optimal functioning of the system depends on LOS, the system’s reliability is compromised. Interference from external light sources, for instance, opaque materials, normal bulbs, and sunlight can interrupt the communication and transmission process. If there is an impediment or blockage along the receiving device’s path, either by light interruptions, darkness, or somebody passing at the LED source’s fore, the signal is cut out, which, in turn, hinders the transmission process. The dependence of LOS also means that, unlike WIFI, device mobility is limited because moving around will interfere with the transmission signal.

The second limitation is that receiving devices cannot communicate data back to the transmitter. For a system to be adopted, it has to be flexible and convenient for its users. Limiting users’ mobility to a given range is a shortcoming, especially because WIFI provides greater mobility autonomy. The dependence on LOS also means that the systems cannot operate in harsh conditions such as heavy lighting or weather conditions, and internet access will be affected by light malfunctions.

These limitations are similar to the constraints posed by WIFI. For example, the distance WIFI signals can travel depends on the type of wireless router or antenna orientation being used. High-power routers have stronger connection strengths compared to lower-power routers. Similarly, as indicated earlier, the transmission speed and range of LED also depend on the amount or intensity of the lights.

Despite these challenges, LIFI has four major strengths: has wider bandwidth, it is high-speed, and has a high data density than that of WIFI. Memon et al. (2017) showed that LIFI is not only feasible but also has a huge market base. The LIFI market was valued at $44.6 billion in 2019. With the production of the specific elements of the system and phototransistor, LIFI’s share within the marketplace is projected to increase to $75.5 billion by 2023 (Memon et al., 2017). Given that LIFI consumes less energy, it is friendlier to the environment than WIFI. It also requires fewer components and power to transmit data. The technology has an extensive application array, ranging from access to a good internet connection to localization, video streaming, and messaging conveyance.

Limitations of These Studies

The main limitation of this study is that it had a limited sample size. The study was based on only five studies, which led to a limited scope of the study. A limited sample size limits the generalizability and transferability of the study. Additionally, three of the studies were not empirical studies; therefore, the originality of the survey findings was limited. Empirical studies help to eliminate author biases during a study.

The section on Integrity and How CS Relates

Technological integrity refers to the practices that ensure data ownership and integrity are protected and safeguarded. Algorithms and data structures, network design, modeling data, and informational processes should be designed in a manner that protects and safeguards data. In the context of LIFI, the systems guarantee better data security and safety than WIFI. With WIFI data, breaches and security risks can happen on a massive scale. Protecting data integrity involves taking measures to minimize the undesirable and unintended properties that compromise data safety. A basic principle of LIFI is that “If you can’t see the light, you can’t access the data” (Egjam et al., 2015). The system’s safety is accentuated by the fact that signals cannot penetrate walls; therefore, intrusion will be difficult.

Conclusions and Future Study

From the analysis, it is clear that the strengths of LIFI surpass its limitations. The major limitation of LIFI is its dependence on LOS. LIFI’s reliance on LOS increases its susceptibility to transmission interferences. On the other hand, the system has a wide bandwidth, high speed, and data density. Because of this reason, it can be concluded that the system has great potential for replacing WIFI. This study contributes to business literature on the feasibility of LIFI in the modern world. Further research should be conducted on the system’s limitations other than LOS.

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Abdullah, M., Hussan, S. ul, & Safdar, S. (2020). Opportunities and challenges to implementation of LIFI. EasyChair. Web.

Bin, S. (2018). Implementation issues of Li-Fi. International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology (IJERT), 6(9), 1–3. Web.

Egjam, A., Zarka, N., & Tarbouche, S. (2015). Overview of LIFI Network. ResearchGate. Web.

Memon, A., Shaikh, F. K., Bohra, N., & Ahmad, U. J. (2017). Feasibility of LiFi in the contemporary world – A survey on the dichotomy of its production and distribution mechanisms. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 10(36), 1–12. Web.

Soltani, M. D., Purwita, A. A., Tavakkolnia, I., Haas, H., & Safari, M. (2019). Impact of device orientation on error performance of LiFi systems. IEEE Access, 7, 41690–41701. Web.

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