PureLiFi lights the way in O2’s 5G trials

LiFi can unlock 'unprecedented' data and bandwidth, says PureLiFi CEO Alistair Banham. Picture: Contributed
LiFi can unlock 'unprecedented' data and bandwidth, says PureLiFi CEO Alistair Banham. Picture: Contributed
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Edinburgh-based technology company PureLiFi has teamed up with communications giant O2 for a “cutting-edge” network trial which was unveiled yesterday.

The light communications technology firm provided O2 with a LiFi system, which uses LED (light-emitting diode) lights to deliver high-speed wireless connectivity, in a trial held at the mobile operator’s Slough headquarters.

PureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system enables data to be transmitted from an LED light bulb and back at high speeds through adjustments in the bulb’s brightness, while appearing as white light to the human eye.

LiFi aims to enable safer, more reliable and more secure data communication and could potentially serve as a contender to wifi, which relies on radio frequencies. LiFi technology may also have the potential to reduce infrastructure complexity and energy consumption.

The project is part of an ongoing series of O2 network trials as the firm paves the way for its 5G, or fifth generation, wireless launch in the UK.

Alistair Banham, CEO of PureLiFi, said: “With the proliferation of internet of things devices and continued growth in mobile users, the demand for spectrum is under increasing pressure.

“LiFi is capable of unlocking unprecedented and much-needed data and bandwidth, and we are delighted that O2 has chosen to partner with PureLiFi to explore this tremendous potential.

“O2 is at the forefront of championing technologies to provide real solutions for 5G and beyond, and we look forward to working with them towards our common goal.”

Derek McManus, O2’s chief operations officer, said: “We’re committed to building the best network possible for our customers, and a huge part of that is making sure we’re ahead of the pack in testing the latest technology.

“Our LiFi trial shows how you can deliver high-speed connectivity to customers in new ways and is another example of how we’re future-proofing our network as we pave the way for 5G in the UK.”

PureLiFi was formed in 2012 as a spin-off from the University of Edinburgh. It currently has partnerships in place with Cisco and Rolls Royce.