Li-Fi Trail

Short Description:

Due to the increasingly larger amounts of Data to be transferred, radio-based wireless communication is reaching its limits. In addition to the so-called “Frequency Crunch” problem which describes the limited bandwidth availability of radio systems, implementation cost raise exponentially with the proliferation of data transfer. Due in particular to high data rates, comparatively low production costs and possible real-time communication, optical wireless communication is now experiencing a renaissance under the Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) name.

This Roadshow Trail presents different technology solutions for Li-Fi communication and demonstrates possibilities in various fields of application. The advantages and disadvantages of diverse Li-Fi technologies are explained and compared to already established wireless transmission techniques. In addition to demonstrations of hardware solutions for Li-Fi communication, software applications founded on characteristics specific to light-based data transmission are also introduced and discussed.

Coordinator:

Dr. Alexander Noack, Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS)

Target Group(s):

    • SME
    • Industry
    • Infrastructure provider
    • Logistics
    • Students

Partner from Research, Industry:

Name Role Contact Person
Fraunhofer IPMS Optical- and optoelectronic-design, coupling design, module development, network integration, system development Dr.-Ing. Alexander Noack
T-Systems Multimedia Solutions Software development, system integration Dr.-Ing. Jörg Benze

Character:

The trail is divided into 4 phases:

Presentations
    • Introduction to Li-Fi Communication (Alexander Noack)
    • Li-Fi Communication Solutions and Applications (Jörg Benze)
Visit to the permanently installed demonstrators in the Li-Fi labs
    • P2P Li-Fi HotSpot for single use
    • P2MP Li-Fi HotSpot for open-plan offices and meeting rooms
    • M2M and Industry 4.0 communication via Li-Fi
    • MMI in real time via Li-Fi link
Hands on Li-Fi: Opportunity to personally operate Demonstrators
    • Li-Fi GigaDock plug replacement
    • Li-Fi Slip rings
    • P2MP Li-Fi HotSpot
World Café: “What is your Li-Fi application?” discussion and idea exchange

Language: German or English

Demonstrators:

Building Infrastructure/Security

P2P Li-Fi HotSpot for individual use

It is increasingly challenging to plan and place WLAN access points to reach optimal coverage and data rates throughout entire buildings. The point-to-point Li-Fi HotSpot allows for secure communication with high bandwidth in a clearly defined cell to enable 100% of the available bandwidth to be wirelessly accessed in every Spot without interferences which reduce transmission speed. HotSpots can also be clearly assigned to users in order that file rights or media access can be granted according to the point of entry.

Figure 1: LiFi Hotspot for individual use, © Fraunhofer IPMS

P2MP Li-Fi HotSpot for open-plan offices and meeting rooms

The way of working with digital media is changing. With more and more companies opting for mobile work places, stationary work stations are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Whether in open-plan offices, co-working spaces, meeting rooms or trade fair stands, uncomplicated broadband Internet and fast access to the company network must be available to each and every staff member. Like WLAN, the point-to-multi-point Li-Fi HotSpot enables multiple users to connect via the same access point. The available bandwidth is, however, shared only by users present in the particular working space, providing obvious security as only they can hack the wireless data.

Figure 2: LiFi HotSpot for open-plan offices and meeting rooms, © Fraunhofer IPMS
Industrie 4.0

M2M und I4.0 communication via Li-Fi

A Li-Fi communication channel is especially suited for machine-to-machine communication. Due to low Li-Fi latency times, it is possible to synchronize sensor and actuator data to avoid collisions or coordinate complex interactions of different robot arms.

Figure 3: M2M and I4.0 communication via LiFi, © Fraunhofer IPMS

MMI in real time via Li-Fi Link

With an increasing focus on human-machine interaction, growing digitalization requires solutions such as measured values and control commands to be transmitted in real time. Li-Fi technology combines the security of cable solutions with the flexibility of wireless systems. Li-Fi also facilitates the extension of existing infrastructure through a self-sufficient communication channel, eliminating exorbitant installation costs. This is particularly helpful in cases where traditional technologies are already busy with other applications or where strong electromagnetic interactions make is impossible to use radio systems.

Figure 4: MMI in real time via LiFi, © Fraunhofer IPMS

Li-Fi GigaDock plug replacement

The optical docking station addresses application scenarios with ranges from a few centimeters and data speeds of 12.5 Gbps are already feasible, something radio communication has not yet achieved. Due to the tight restrictions on data connection in terms of range and field-of-view, up to 97% of this transmission capacity can be utilized for user data.

Figure 5: LiFi GigaDock plug replacement, © Fraunhofer IPMS

Li-Fi Slip rings

Compared to conventional slip ring solutions, Li-Fi technology not only facilitates significantly higher data transmission speeds, but also enables real-time communication even without the mechanical closure of the contacts. The solution therefore provides maintenance-free data exchange at rotational speeds of more than 1000 rpm – bi-directional and full-duplex.

Figure 6: LiFi Slip rings, © Fraunhofer IPMS

Current Projects:

­Various customer-driven projects for application-specific Li-Fi hardware/software development, roll-out, ramp-up and integration at customer

Opportunities for Projects and Funding Instruments

Funding possibilities:

    • BMBF KMU Innovative Program for the Transfer of Research Results from Science to Business (2-3 years)
    • SAB InnoTeams for industrial research projects or experimental development of new products (2-4 years)
    • SAB cooperative for R&D projects for the development of innovative products or technical services (ca. 2 years)
    • BMWI projects (ca. 2 years)

Fraunhofer IPMS services for industrial projects:

    • Consulting
    • Feasibilty Studies
    • Proof of Concept implementation
    • Individual research and development projects
    • Prototyping, small series production
    • Technology transfers

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