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    By Jim Knapp


     A new class of internet networking making its way into today’s marketplace may become a new revenue stream for electricians.  Ethernet, fiber optics and Wi-Fi will have new competition from Li-Fi.  Instead of using radio waves, like Wi-Fi, Li-Fi uses waves from the light spectrum (visible, infrared and ultraviolet) to transfer data through the air.  Transmission rates can be 1000 times faster than Wi-Fi. Li-Fi works by turning LED fixtures “on and off” to create the zeros and ones of data transmission.  Of course, the “blinking” is faster than the human eye can ever recognize. Projections are that there will be $6 billion spent on Li-Fi in 2018.

    Some other features of Li-Fi:

    • No RF radiation concerns
    • Doesn’t interfere with electronics
    • Line of sight connectivity means greater security
    • The visible spectrum is 10,000 times wider than the RF spectrum, so there’s room to add a lot more users.

    The high speeds, security and safety of Li-Fi should attract the attention of a lot of consumers (think videophiles and gamers).  But, most consumers won’t feel comfortable installing it. Li-Fi requires special light fixtures with a “driver” to control the LED lamp and CAT wire to be run from a router to the fixture.  That’s a bit more involved than just plugging in a Wi-Fi router. Most home or business owners aren’t going to want to get involved in a complex installation involving high voltage and cable pulling.  That should leave an opening for electricians to offer professional installations of Li-Fi.

    It’s a win-win.  Consumers will get an upgraded system, professionally installed.  Electricians will have a new revenue opportunity to take advantage of.



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