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Linux Kernel Upgrade Release 5.19 Adds LiFi Networking Drivers

Thursday, August 4th, 2022 (12:37 pm) - Score 1,416
pureLiFi-Communications-in-Office

Scotland-based pureLiFi, which is developing the new Visible Light Communication (VLC) based networking method called LiFi (Light Fidelity) – using light instead of radio waves to transmit data – has informed us that the latest release of the Linux Kernel (v5.19) includes their LiFi drivers for the first time.

The move is important because the official kernels are the basis for all Linux-based operating system (OS) distributions, ranging from Ubuntu and Fedora for PCs and servers, to Android for Smartphones and tablets. Suffice to say, this will help to move pureLiFi’s plans for wider commercial deployment forward, since at present there are no products that regular home users can purchase.

The idea of using light as a communication media like WiFi is of course nothing new (e.g. Morse code or infrared links), but LiFi takes a new approach by turning Light-Emitting Diode (LED) based light bulbs into a sophisticated wireless data network. This is achieved by turning the bulb(s) on and off many times a second (they already do this to save power) and by altering the length of these flickers, as well as other properties of light.

The Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) recently awarded pureLiFi £10m to support their rollout of the new technology, although it remains to be seen how successful this is. LiFi could remove some of the capacity strain from existing wireless networks and would be more secure (you can still intercept the signal, it’s just harder), but spreading the service around your home would be difficult / expensive without replacing the bulbs.

You’d also have to network those bulbs somehow (a cable to each one or lots of relays? Neither is ideal) and leave them switched-on, albeit at a much lower brightness, which isn’t ideal. But we’ll reserve judgement until there’s a solid and affordable consumer product to test.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Bob says:

    Only works in the hours of darkness?

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