Li-Fi vs. Wi-Fi – Basic Differences

Li-Fi vs. Wi-Fi – Basic Differences

li-fi vs wifi

A few days back, I wrote an article explaining the new wireless communication called Li-Fi. After that, I found several requests for telling the basic differences between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi. I am not sure if it was really necessary because reading about Li-Fi clearly explains everything and made it clear how Li-Fi is taking wireless communication to the next level. But I decided to write a separate post on LiFi vs. WiFi. If you were interested in knowing the basic differences between network Li-Fi and Wi-Fi, here is the article you should read.

I have already written about Li-Fi in detail. So, I will not explain that again. If you have no idea about Li-Fi, you can go to that article before reading this one. In short, Li-Fi is the latest wireless communication technology that uses light waves in place of radio waves to transfer data. It offers much faster data connectivity than LiFi. There are also several other differences that we will talk about later in this article.

Wifi is the most preferred way to access a network we use today. It works on radio waves and uses certain frequencies in between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. Almost all devices with any form of connectivity now also come with Wi-Fi support. People think that Li-Fi will replace Wi-Fi because of its much higher speed. is it so? We will check this in this article.

In this article, I will cover the basic differences between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi. So, you can easily guess where LiFi leads and where WiFi leads. So, keep reading this article to know what is better and why.

LiFi vs. WiFi

Here are some basic differences between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi. I have tried to point out all notable differences to give you an idea of LiFi and WiFi.

1. Li-Fi is the short-term of Light Fidelity and Wi-Fi is Wireless Fidelity. The most basic difference between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi is that Li-Fi communication uses the light spectrum for data transmission while WiFi uses radio waves to transmit information.

2. Li-Fi uses the illumination of light through an LED lamp. It uses transceiver-fitted LED lamps that can light a room as well as transmit and receive. On the other hand, Wi-Fi uses routers and radio waves to connect to devices and transmit data.

3. Li-fi is much faster than Wi-Fi. Researchers at Oxford University managed to achieve a speed of 224Gbps using a Li-Fi network. Normal Li-Fi networks easily offer over 1 Gbps speed. This is much faster than the fastest Wi-Fi network available. Normal Wi-Fi speed is around 150 Mbps and 1-2 Gbps can be achieved using WiGig/Giga-IR. So, you can see how faster Li-Fi is in comparison to Wi-Fi.

4. LiFI technology works with IrDA-compliant devices while the WiFi works with WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad standard-compliant devices. Both are different standards. Most of the current devices support WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad. No consumer electronic device supports IrDA and you need to buy a separate dongle for that.

5. Li-Fi is secure as light cannot travel through walls. People within the direct line of sight can only access the network. Hackers will no longer be able to initiate snooping attacks from another room. On the other hand, anyone in the Wi-Fi network range can access the network. So, Wi-Fi routers need proper security and we have to add passwords to keep the network safe.

6. As LiFi uses a light source to transmit data, it cannot offer a wide range. On the other hand, WiFi is great for general wireless coverage within the building. The coverage distance of LiFi is small and it can be up to 10 meters only. In WiFi, the coverage distance can be up to 32 meters depending on the power and antenna type of the router.

7. The spectrum available for Wi-Fi is limited. On the other hand, Li-Fi information is transmitted on beams of light. The range of spectrum clustered around 500,000 GHz So, so the frequencies available to transmit Li-Fi data are virtually limitless.

8. In Li-Fi, Interference is less and waves can pass through salty sea water. It works fine in dense regions. On the other hand, Wi-Fi cannot pass through seawater and only works in less-dense regions.

9. If I talk about components used in communication, Li-fi uses LED, photodetector, and lamp driver. On the other hand, Wi-fi uses a router and a subscriber device.

Here’s a comparison table highlighting the main differences between LiFi and WiFi:

TechnologyUses light waves for data transmissionUses radio waves for data transmission
SpeedOffers potentially higher speeds (up to Gbps range)Typically offers lower speeds (up to several hundred Mbps)
RangeLimited range, typically within a room or areaLarger range, can cover larger areas or buildings
InterferenceLess susceptible to interference from other devicesSusceptible to interference from other devices
SecurityGenerally considered more secure due to limited range and line-of-sight requirementRequires encryption and security measures to ensure data protection
AvailabilityLimited availability and adoption in comparison to WiFiWidespread availability and extensive adoption
InfrastructureRequires specialized LiFi-enabled devices and light fixturesCompatible with a wide range of WiFi-enabled devices
Line-of-SightRequires direct line-of-sight between the light source and the receiving deviceWorks through obstacles and walls
Energy UsageRequires dedicated lighting infrastructureUses existing power infrastructure for wireless communication
ApplicationsSuited for environments requiring high-speed and secure data transfer, such as hospitals, industrial settings, and highly congested areasUbiquitous connectivity for general internet access and everyday applications

There are also a few misconceptions about Li-Fi. People think that dimming lights will stop connectivity. But this is not the case. It will decrease bandwidth, but data will still be transferred at a speed of up to 1 Gbps. I have talked about Li-Fi in detail in our previous article. So, I recommend you to read that and know more about Li-Fi.

Final Words

Now you know the basic differences between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi. While Li-Fi is much faster, there are a few cons of Li-Fi as well. It has few restrictions as well This is the reason, I cannot see it as a replacement for WiFi technology. But it will be an incredible companion to the WiFi technology. Li-Fi Technology will be best for reaching those places where it is hard to bring Internet using Fiber optics. By using Li-Fi, we can easily bring the internet to those tough places.

There are several use cases where Li-Fi can be useful. Li-Fi-enabled street lights can provide connectivity along with the light at night. It can also make the whole city connected with less effort. It can also be used in those places where it is unsafe to operate WiFi.

Wi-Fi is available across the globe and Li-Fi needs more testing before becoming commercially available. LiFi is still not common and we could see no consumer electronics devices supporting it out of the box. But several countries have started testing this high-speed communication technology. So, we can expect this tech to be commonly available around 2020.

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What do you guys think about LiFi? Do not forget to share your views with us in comments.

Deepanker Verma is the founder of Nerdy Guides. He is a tech blogger, software developer, and gadget freak. He also runs TheWPGuides and Techlomedia.

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