Internet technologies have made monumental strides in a record amount of time. Just a few decades ago, you could only connect to the internet in front of a monitor; now, you can access Wi-Fi from almost anywhere. One of the final hurdles left to total worldwide connectivity is air travel. While some airlines have started to offer reliable Wi-Fi at speeds comparable to some ground connections, the average in-flight connectivity experience still tends to be weak, overcrowded and expensive.
However, Light Fidelity, or Li-Fi, has the potential to change all that, making air travel internet as easy to access in the air as it is on the ground.
What Is Li-Fi?
Li-Fi is an emerging wireless communication technology that uses visible light to transmit data, meaning even the reading light above your seat could operate as a router.
First, Li-Fi modulates the light intensity emitted by an LED (light-emitting diode) to carry information. That data is then received by a photodetector that decodes it and converts it into usable information, thus giving you an internet connection.
While both Li-Fi and Wi-Fi offer wireless communication technologies, they function using entirely different methods. Unlike Wi-Fi, which relies on radio waves and transceivers, Li-Fi offers high-speed wireless connectivity while utilizing existing lighting infrastructure, doing more with less.
The Benefits of Li-Fi on an Aircraft?
Theoretically, Li-Fi has the potential to revolutionize air travel. If it were to be widely adopted, it might upgrade the experience in multiple ways:
Enhanced In-Flight Entertainment
By equipping each seat with Li-Fi-enabled receivers, passengers can enjoy ultra-fast internet access, HD video streaming and real-time interactive gaming. This technology eliminates the need for traditional wired systems, reducing the weight and complexity of onboard wiring.
Efficient Cabin Monitoring
Li-Fi can also enhance safety and security measures onboard aircraft. Integrated Li-Fi sensors can collect data regarding temperature, pressure, smoke detection and passenger movement in real time, enabling faster identification and reaction to any potential safety issues.
Communication Between Crew Members
Crew members can communicate more seamlessly with Li-Fi-enabled devices like tablets or smartphones. Instant messaging, video calls and vital information sharing can occur swiftly and securely through the onboard lights, enhancing operational efficiency and coordination within the aircraft.
Even while functioning at higher speeds, Li-Fi can provide more enhanced security than Wi-Fi. It’s well-known that using airport or aircraft Wi-Fi can pose security risks due to the sheer occupancy on the server. However, since light signals can’t pass through walls, Li-Fi signals remain confined to specific areas, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or external interference.
Faster Internet Connection
Li-Fi achieves a gigabit range speed while Wi-Fi mainly operates in a megabit range, making Li-Fi ideal for bandwidth-intensive applications such as seamless HD video streaming and real-time interactive touchscreens.
More Environmentally Friendly
Since it utilizes existing LED lighting infrastructure, Li-Fi is inherently energy-efficient. By using Li-Fi technology, airplane lights can operate both as illumination and data transference vessels, reducing overall energy consumption and helping to create a greener aviation industry.
Does Li-Fi Have Any Disadvantages?
While Li-Fi functions faster than Wi-fi and offers more security, its signals are limited to the line-of-sight range. Since Li-Fi’s power source is light, passengers may experience connectivity issues if they move to a different seat or go to the bathroom.
Additionally, retrofitting aircraft cabins with new Li-Fi technology would require significant investment and effort. Installing Li-Fi receivers at every seat and integrating sensors throughout the cabin would involve substantial retrofitting and reconfiguration of existing aircraft infrastructure – not to mention the high costs required to do that.
Because Li-Fi communication relies on modulating the intensity of light signals, excessive ambient light or direct sunlight entering the cabin could also interfere with the signal’s quality and impact the overall performance of Li-Fi connectivity.
While Li-Fi is still an emerging technology that requires more thought, it represents an exciting leap forward in wireless communication technology with vast potential within the aircraft landscape. From transforming the in-flight entertainment experience to improving safety measures and enabling efficient communication between crew members, Li-Fi has the potential to change how we connect in the skies.
Our Experts Have Been Delivering and Installing the Latest IFE Technology in Aircraft for Over 40 Years
Rosen Aviation offers cutting-edge IFE aircraft technologies designed to enhance the traveling experience and help your aircraft stand above the rest in safety and entertainment. Consult with our team to learn how you can help outfit your aircraft with the latest cabin entertainment and management systems.
Call 1-888-668-4955 or visit us online to learn how we can upgrade your aircraft today.