Li-fi is to be adopted by the US Navy for ship-to-ship communication, in a move that harkens back to the days of signal lights, which were used in maritime warfare hundreds of years ago.
Ships will be able to transmit data with a beam of light from a common LED. The light is then received by a photodiode, which is able to decode the information.
The technology, when used at sea, is in many ways similar to old navy equipment such as the Aldis lamp, which has been used to send Morse code messages via flashing light for over a hundred years.
Li-fi technology has tested well at distances of up to one mile and it is believed that it could easily be be used at a range of twelve nautical miles after further research.
The technology is attracting increasing levels of attention as the internet service it provides has been proven to be faster than wi-fi. It is also, many experts believe, much more secure than wi-fi too.
Li-fi is of interest to military security experts because the only way a stream of information can be intercepted by an enemy vessel, when it is transferred via li-fi, is to capture the light beam the information is stored within. The impregnability of li-fi is therefore a key factor in an age when western military forces have to tackle cyber attacks emanating from Russia and China.
The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) is currently working on a project called Tactical Line-of-Sight Optical Network (TALON), which harnesses li-fi for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication, The Daily Caller, reports.
It is expected that TALON will be deployed in the next five years as a way to share top secret intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, however simpler versions of li-fi could be used at sea for basic communication much sooner than that.
Innovations in Li-fi will be demonstrated at the LuxLive 2016 exhibition in London on Wednesday 23 November and Thursday 24 November 2016. A special IoT Arena will explore developments in connected lighting and its role in the Internet of Things. Entry is free – register at www.luxlive.co.uk