A light-based wireless communication network developed by Edinburgh-based mobile communication specialist pureLiFi could become an essential tool for Government and business in combating terrorism and cyber crime.
The pureLiFi system offers a new and secure way of exchanging information over networks, using light rather than radio waves to communicate between devices.
The new light-based communication technology, known as Li-Fi, could provide a substantially increased solution to enhance data security for businesses seeking to improve data protection – from Government and defence organisations through to financial, public sector, pharmaceutical or any ‘high data risk’ industries.
Professor Harald Haas, pureLifi’s inventor and Chief Scientific Officer, commented: “Unlike existing wireless systems whose security vulnerabilities have received extensive media coverage in recent months, pureLiFi’s systems are almost impossible to intercept.”
By exploiting specific properties of light, the Li-Fi system prevents both sides of the communications link being intercepted.
Professor Haas continued: “Let us consider what Li-Fi means for the security of public and corporate Internet access. Wi-Fi signals propagate in all directions and pass through walls and all data within range can be recorded. As Li-Fi signals travel in directional beams between an access point and a terminal, and vice versa, a potential interceptor would need to be in the overlapping space of both light beams. Even an unencrypted Li-Fi access point provides better security than Wi-Fi.”
He added: “Li-Fi removes the uncertainty of joining a network. In a typical Li-Fi installation, ceiling lights which transmit and receive the data are part of the premises and this creates a chain of accountability for the security of the users’ data. The inherent security advantages of Li-Fi, and the accountability that it offers, provide a supplement to the emerging need for greater data security and responsibility.”
Additional layer of data security
Li-Fi is unlikely to replace Wi-Fi or 4G. Rather, it’s intended to provide a complimentary solution as well as an additional layer of data security and communications for organisations or individuals.
Businesses have already shown great feedback to pureLiFi’s first product, Li-1st. The Li-1st system has been trialled within a number of organisations, with interested sectors including underwater communications, hazardous environments, telecoms, finance, aircraft manufacturing and more.
“In fact, pureLiFi has recently undergone a second production run of the Li-1st system due to the high demand,” explained Professor Haas.
Technical development of the pureLiFi system in the coming months will focus on higher data rates, reduced power consumption and miniaturisation. The fully mobile and networked solution (Li-Flame) will be released in the second half of 2014.
The differences between Li-Fi and conventional Wi-Fi at a glance:
* Conventional Wi-Fi travels in all directions
* Li-Fi travels in just one direction
* Conventional Wi-Fi permeates structures including walls
* Li-Fi can only be accessed in rooms/buildings fitted with the necessary technology
* Conventional Wi-Fi allows an attacker to hear both sides of a conversation
* In the unlikely event that an attacker intercepts the Li-Fi signal, he only ‘hears’ one side of the conversation.
Further information on pureLiFi
pureLiFi is a communications technology company formed in 2012, as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, to create OEM components, including Li-Fi drivers and receivers.
Visible Light Communication (VLC) is the use of visible light to transmit data wirelessly.
Li-Fi – a term coined by pureLiFi’s Chief Science Officer and ‘father of Li-Fi’, Professor Haas – is a technology based on VLC that provides high speed, bidirectional and full networking capabilities similar to Wi-Fi but with significantly greater spatial reuse of bandwidth.
For more information visit: http://www.purelifi.com