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"Europeans for Safe Connections" explain Li-Fi

"Europeans for Safe Connections" is a coalition of national and international organizations that are aware of adverse consequences of the modern communication technologies. They emphasize that they are not against technology, but they are pro safe technology and safe connections.

Li-Fi is a light communication system that is capable of transmitting data at high speeds over the visible light, ultraviolet, and infrared spectrums. Like Wi-Fi it is a form of wireless communication technology between devices. In this article we discuss advantages and disadvantages of Li-Fi.

In our ECI and other articles we address this and also many other issues. www.signstop5g.eu/en/blog-articles

lifi

Light communication works by switching the current to lamps off and on at a very high speed, beyond the human eye's ability to notice. How does Europeans for Safe Connections view this innovation in communication technology? Can it be a good replacement for Wi-fi, the currently widely used technology for data transfer over short distances, which not only has a number of practical limitations, but is also not well tolerated by a substantial group of vulnerable people?

Advantages of Li-Fi Technology:

Advantages are well summarized in by Harald Haas during a 2011 TEDGlobal talk:
www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_wireless_data_from_every_light_bulb?subtitle=en

  • Speed: Li-Fi technology is much faster compared to Wi-Fi technology. Researchers have reached data rates of over 224 Gbit/s. This means you can download a high-definition video in seconds. Direct line of sight is not necessary for Li-Fi to transmit a signal and light reflected off walls can still reach a speed of 70 Mbit/s.

  • Capacity: The visible spectrum used in the transmission of data is much greater than the radio wave spectrum, therefore, it has a greater capacity.

  • Security: Radio waves can be manipulated and intercepted by unwanted people. On the other hand, Li-Fi is much more secure as the signals are confined to the same room and cannot be intercepted easily.

  • Efficiency: In its present state, in the Li-Fi systems only LED lights can be used for the transmission of data in visible light. Since LED lamps are already installed in most of our homes, in public and commercial areas, they are an efficient use of energy compared to Wi-Fi. Li-Fi is expected to be ten times cheaper than Wi-Fi.

  • Free from Interference: Wi-Fi networking faces problems of neighbouring network interference or radio interference whereas Li-Fi is free from all types of interferences that could affect Wi-Fi system and is therefore more efficient for use.

Negatives:

For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights of certain intensities or with certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. This condition is known as photosensitive epilepsy. Many people are not aware they are sensitive to flickering light or to certain visual patterns until they have a seizure. Many other individuals who are disturbed by light exposure do not develop seizures at all, but have other symptoms, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and more.
More: www.epilepsy.com/what-is-epilepsy/seizure-triggers/photosensitivity

The IEEE Standards Working Group, IEEE PAR1789 "Recommending practices for modulating current in High Brightness LEDs for mitigating health risks to viewers" has been formed to advise the lighting industry about the emerging concern of flicker in LED lighting and make them aware of biological effects of flicker. Applications of LED lighting that may also involve flicker with adverse effects on sensitive persons is precisely the use LED flicker for wireless communication.
More: ece.northeastern.edu/groups/power/lehman/Publications/Pub2010/2010_9_Wilkins.pdf

Conclusion

In our ECI we ask for regulation regarding radio frequency wireless communication to protect against unwanted exposure. Even if Li-Fi turns out to be harmful, it would probably still be better than Wi-Fi since with Li-Fi one is only harming oneself and not one's neighbours.

To demonstrate this approach, we often use an example with smoking. A society has established a set of rules where smoking is not allowed in order to prevent unvoluntary smoke breathing – so smoking is not allowed in mass transport, not allowed in restaurants, not allowed in schools etc.

The use of Li-Fi could be a step forward to protect children and other vulnerable people from unwanted exposure as it might be easier to avoid light radiation than radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.

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Contributor

Petra Bertová is a member of the team behind the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) "Stop (((5G))) – Stay Connected but Protected"

Petra from Slovakia previously worked for an IT company and also in the education sector.

© 2022 Europeans for safe connections.