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PureLiFi scores £7M Series B to commercialize pulsating light-based Wi-FI alternative

TechCrunch TechCrunch 15/07/2016 Steve O'Hear

PureLifi, the University of Edinburgh spin out that is developing what it calls ‘LiFi’ technology, an alternative to Wi-Fi that uses modulating LED light as a way of sending data from one LiFi-equipped device to another, has raised just over £7 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek, while the startup says the new capital will be used to begin commercialising the technology.

The LiFi technology is described as using the visible light spectrum instead of radio frequencies to deliver high-speed wireless data communication. In simple terms that means using LED light, pulsated in a way that isn’t noticeable to the human eye, to send data wirelessly.

Interestingly, LiFi tech has some potential advantages over Wi-Fi networks. These include greater security due to its ‘line of sight’ requirements (no snooping on a network from outside a building or the other side of a wall), and being able to use existing lighting infrastructure, such as LED street lamps, to double up as LiFi access points. Higher data transfer speeds, in comparison to Wi-Fi, are also promised.

However, some of those advantages, not least the ‘line of sight’ requirement, are distinct disadvantages too. Any wireless technology based on light won’t work outdoors either.

With that said, PureLiFi says it’s already working with the likes of Cisco and Lucibel to provide LiFi networks. Since the startup’s Series A last year, it has completed the development and production of the LiFi-X product, the first mobile LiFi dongle.

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