Chinese professor Chi Nan has built her own Li-Fi wireless system that can use LED lights to surf the internet. Li-Fi is not new, but instead of developing specialized hardware, Chi bought her components on Taobao (a major Chinese e-commerce website).
The professor from Fudan University demonstrated her technology at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai. Unlike traditional Wi-Fi routers that use radio signals, Li-Fi relies on light to send and receive data wirelessly.
Chi, an expert on optical fibers, said that she was simply interested in the promise of Li-Fi. “I just wanted to play around,” she said. Funding also came from the local Shanghai government, which has made research in the area a goal.
Li-Fi could be deployed in everyday LED bulbs, with light-based Internet connections covering the interior of entire homes or buildings. The data connection speeds can also reach several gigabits per second. Chi’s own system runs at 150 Mbps by using a small number of LED bulbs each at one watt. “With a more powerful LED light, we can reach 3.5 Gbps speeds,” she added.