Could Infrared Play a Part in the Future of Your Online Gaming Setup?

Wi-Fi has come so far over the years that it’s become the basis of many people’s online gaming experiences. Though it’s far from a perfect solution, far outperformed by its wired cousin, the convenience and accessibility it offers are too profound to ignore. Work on infrared data connections has recently made strides, however, offering developments that might play a part in your gaming experiences to come.

The Arrival of Li-Fi

Recently accepted into the 802.11 wireless standard, light communication (Li-Fi) builds on an idea in data communication that has been around for decades. The television remote you use will probably operate by infrared, and it’s an upgraded version of this same technology that Li-Fi adopts.

Data is transmitted here using light pulses outside of the human visual spectrum, offering current speeds between 10 Mbps and 9.6 Gbps. Like gaming on Wi-Fi, this approach has its limits, but for the right use, it could either bolster an existing network or add functionality that Wi-Fi can’t.

Remote Control” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Scouse Smurf

Use and Limitations

Still in the relatively early stages of this technology, Li-Fi in real-world applications can be overly sensitive in a way that limits it to less-demanding usage. One such example could be online casino games like Megajackpots Cleopatra. This 92.48% RTP slot title from IGT plays over three reels with cutting-edge graphics and digital slot gameplay, but it requires little actual data when compared to many modern video games. In this type of use, even the slower and less-reliable early forms of Li-Fi could prove more than adequate.

The more demanding systems, such as high-data-use game streaming services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now require at least 25Mbps for higher qualities, and a constant connection free of interference and drops. This makes these levels of systems a poor fit for current Li-Fi, where even cabled connections are pushed to the limit. While not quite capable yet, these issues won’t persist forever, as Li-Fi technology continues to advance.

A Tool in the Arsenal

Rather than a complete replacement, Li-Fi could act as a companion to existing Wi-Fi connections. Wi-Fi being finicky is something we’ve all experienced, so when this happens, an active Li-Fi connection kicking in to pick up the slack could enhance usability significantly. This might not be the easiest thing to implement, considering Li-Fi doesn’t penetrate walls and needs a direct line of sight, but even these limitations offer advantages.

Because Li-Fi can be so targeted, it offers security that Wi-Fi doesn’t. You need to be able to physically see a Li-Fi source to attain a connection, unlike Wi-Fi which can transmit through walls and into unintended areas. With security a greater concern in gaming than ever, it might be possible for Li-Fi to play a part in the security process, potentially even helping reduce the ever-present online cheating problem.


Dualsense controller” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sergiy Galyonkin

With Li-Fi’s potential in military and medical technology, it’s likely to succeed whether or not it takes off in the gaming world. Should it develop into a reliable technology, however, we’d be all too happy to invite it into our homes when cabled solutions aren’t possible. Anything to lessen data drops and disconnects is okay with us, and if we manage to find better security along the way, then all the better.