The global LiFi technology firms pureLiFi and Fraunhofer HHI have announced the release of IEEE 802.11bb as the latest global light communications standard alongside IEEE 802.11 WiFi standards. The bb standard marks a significant milestone for the LiFi market, as it provides a globally recognised framework for deployment of LiFi technology.
LiFi is a wireless technology that uses light rather than radio frequencies to transmit data. By harnessing the light spectrum, LiFi can provide faster, more reliable wireless communications with unparalleled security compared to conventional technologies such as WiFi and 5G.
Formed in 2018 and chaired by pureLiFi and supported by Fraunhofer HHI, the Light Communications 802.11bb Task Group has been at the forefront of LiFi development efforts. Both organisations aim to see accelerated adoption and interoperability not only between LiFi vendors but also with WiFi technologies as a result of these standardisation efforts.
The IEEE 802.11bb Standard
The IEEE 802.11bb standard defines the physical layer specifications and system architectures for wireless communication using light waves. This new standard sets the foundation for the widespread adoption of LiFi technology and paves the way for the interoperability of LiFi systems with the successful WiFi standard. Ratification of the standard was concluded in June 2023.
Richard Webb, Director, Network Infrastructure at industry analyst firm CCS Insights, said, “The IEEE 802.11bb standard is an important milestone for LiFi technology placing LiFi as a complementary and integrated technology alongside the highly successful WiFi standard. This opens-up exciting new opportunities for LiFi to work seamlessly with WiFi and make communications better in a range of applications, from high-speed, secure internet access in the home and office to expanding next generation experiences to wider markets such as XR and spatial computing.”
According to pureLiFi’s VP of Standardisation, Nikola Serafimovski, “Through the activity of the 802.11bb task group, LiFi attracted interest from some of the biggest industry players ranging from semiconductor companies to leading mobile phone manufacturers. We worked with these key stakeholders to create a standard that will provide what the industry needs to adopt LiFi at scale.”
Fraunhofer HHI is a world leader in the development of mobile and optical communication networks and systems as well as processing and coding of video signals. Dominic Schulz, lead of LiFi development at Fraunhofer HHI, said, “LiFi offers high-speed mobile connectivity in areas with limited RF, like fixed wireless access, classrooms, medical, and industrial scenarios. It complements or serves as an alternative to WiFi and 5G. 802.11bb integrates easily with existing infrastructures.”