Engineering 101

LiFi and 5G: Stronger Together

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Vodafone Deutschland and Signify are joining forces to interlink the two communication technologies 5G and LiFi, providing their customers with more speed and better mobile broadband connectivity.

The collaboration aims to develop applications, use cases and solutions that deliver secure and reliable two-way wireless communication at speeds well beyond traditional wireless technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth. Vodafone Deutschland is showcasing the benefits of combining the two technologies during the IEEE 5G Summit in Dresden.

“We were the first company to bring Germany into the 5G era. We are not stopping there,” said Gerhard Mack, Head of Technology at Vodafone Deutschland. “Today’s agreement with Signify marks the beginning of a collaboration between two industry leaders, bringing together the worlds of telecommunications and lighting. I’m looking forward to revealing the first breakthrough innovation.”

Michel Germe, Global Head of LiFi systems at Signify, added: “Thanks to the technology leadership of both companies, today together we can show a revolutionary combination of 5G and LiFi. This collaboration has the potential to provide end-users with ultra high-speed wireless broadband connectivity. We foresee that this will enable applications that require low latency and the highest dedicated speeds.”

Together, the two companies will explore and develop ways in which LiFi technology in local networks will be used in conjunction with 5G, so that Vodafone and other customers can benefit even more than before from the speed of those new technologies.

Under the name of Trulifi, Signify recently introduced a LiFi system that uses light waves instead of radio signals (such as WiFi, 4G/5G, Bluetooth, etc) to provide wireless data transmission and reception technology, which can be built into Philips-branded luminaires. It utilizes the lighting infrastructure to provide reliable and secure high-speed broadband connectivity up to 250 Mbps.

The combination of 5G and LiFi also offers advantages for industrial customers and the Internet of Things. It enables reliable and secure high-speed wireless communication with low latency in areas where certain radio frequencies are performing poorly due to critical environments or when wireless communications are not allowed at all due to safety regulations. In addition, fault-tolerant systems and services are better equipped to withstand network outages – the two communication technologies can be ubiquitous through inter-system handovers.

Also conceivable are applications in autonomous driving where vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) networks enable direct communication between vehicles and the environment in order to increase safety and comfort in road traffic. The basis for connecting devices, machines and vehicles is a fixed point-to-point network that acts as a ‘wireless cable’ and complements the Trulifi range.

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