Is 5G a LiFi

Wedding: Vodafone and Signify want to combine 5G and LiFi

Let there be light: You can use it to illuminate and even transmit data
Photo: Vodafone Mobile communications critics are not only skeptical about the planned mobile network expansion, they also warn of possible dangers from more intensive WLAN expansion in schools or kindergartens, for example. They recommend an alternative based on light, which is abbreviated to LiFi (Light Fidelity). The idea of ​​the company Philips, which now sells the product under the brand name Signify, is not entirely new, but slumbered in secret for a long time.

The message from the network operator Vodafone, who wants to join forces with Signify (formerly Philips Lightning) to merge the strengths of 5G and LiFi, makes one prick up the ears. In the end, customers should get more speed and better connectivity, both private customers and industry.

The collaboration between Vodafone and Signify aims to develop applications and solutions that guarantee secure and reliable wireless two-way communication via radio signals as well as light waves at speeds that are far above conventional wireless technologies such as WLAN and Bluetooth should.

Engineering summit in Dresden

Let there be light: You can use it to illuminate and even transmit data
Photo: Vodafone Vodafone presented the advantages of combining both technologies during the IEEE 5G Summit in Dresden. IEEE stands for "Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers", a global umbrella organization for electrical and IT engineers that has also set many standards, a kind of global VDE / VDI, so to speak. They meet at the summit in Dresden to discuss new ideas and exchange ideas.

Vodafone's head of technology, Gerhard Mack, is self-confident: “We were the first network operator to bring Germany into the 5G era. We are not resting on this success. Today's 'engagement' with Signify marks the beginning of a partnership between two market leaders from different branches of industry, through which two actually separate worlds - telecommunications and lighting - are growing together. I'm looking forward to the first results. "

"We anticipate that this will enable applications that require very low latencies and the highest dedicated speeds," added Michel Germe, Global Head of LiFi Systems at Signify.

Connect LiFi and 5G sensibly

Both companies want to jointly research how LiFi technology can be used sensibly in local networks in conjunction with 5G. Signify recently introduced a LiFi system called "Trulifi", which uses light waves instead of radio signals (such as WiFi or Bluetooth) to provide wireless transmission and reception technology for data transmission, which is then installed in Philips luminaires can.

For the user this means: The lighting in living rooms, offices or industrial halls allows internal, secure high-speed broadband connections with up to 250 Mbit / s. That can be a win-win situation: you need light anyway. The lighting only has to be exchanged once for one from Signify, which then not only provides visible light for seeing, but also transmits data.

LiFi could be of interest for industry and the Internet of Things, in areas where certain radio frequencies only function poorly due to the environment or where radio transmission is not permitted at all due to safety regulations (e.g. explosion protection in chemical plants).

High-availability systems should be better equipped against network failures so that there is a second (redundant) connection in an emergency. This would be conceivable for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-mobile communications ("Cellular V2X") in order to increase safety and comfort in road traffic.

When connecting devices, machines or vehicles, the basis is a fixed point-to-point system called a "wireless cable", which is part of the Trulifi family.

No LiFi products available for private customers yet

As Signify announced at the request of, there are currently no LiFi products in stores for private users at home. There are currently over 30 projects worldwide that work with the new transmission technology. An application example is running at the Hamburg sports club. "So far there have only been business customers (B2B) who can order Li-Fi-enabled lights from Signify," the company further confirmed.