Broadband data-over-light, sent through lighting fixtures commonly seen in commercial buildings, moves a step closer to possible mass adoption through an apparently functioning smart-office installation in Paris.\nLi-Fi uses light waves for data communications, as opposed to Wi-Fi, which uses microwave radio. Li-Fi has 10,000 times Wi-Fi radio\u2019s RF spectrum, experts say. The pilot installation by Philips is at a French real-estate company\u2019s office.\nPhilips Lighting, the giant lighting-system maker, says it is now offering Li-Fi modems installed within its existing LED luminaires, such as its downlighters. A luminaire is the building-industry term for a complete lighting fixture.\nThe Li-Fi-enabled luminaires have 30Mb per second of data throughput for end users, according to the company in a press release. \u201cWith 30Mb per second a user can stream, simultaneously, several HD-quality videos while having video calls,\u201d it says. Up to 15 users can be served by one fixture.\nVLC\nVisible light communications (VLC) could conceivably replace, or at least augment, Wi-Fi. VLC has advantages that include interference-free transmissions\u2014good for RF-hostile environments such as hospitals, for example; and it can be secure\u2014it won\u2019t travel through walls. Congestion, as found in the Wi-Fi bands, isn\u2019t an issue.\n\u201cWhile radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource,\u201d Philips says.\nHandoffs are seamless, the company claims. As the user traverses the building under ceiling-mounted lighting fixtures\u2014a plentiful resource in commercial structures\u2014the user stays connected.\n\u201cWe have a perfect handover between one luminaire to the other one,\u201d says Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting from a videoed press conference at the Light+Building show in Frankfurt this week. \u201cWe don\u2019t lose the signal.\u201d\nThe lighting company explains that its lighting units come fitted out with a modem that takes the cable-supplied network data, along with the LED's current, and modulates it, creating the data-containing light-wave. A USB dongle is then placed in the users\u2019 laptop to receive that information, and an infrared emitter link responds back to the original light fixture. The illumination itself isn't degraded.\nThe company also claims that its network will work with IoT devices.\nPhilips isn\u2019t the only Li-Fi operation out there. University of Edinburgh spin-off pureLiFi claims speeds of 43Mb per second from its LiFi-XC USB dongles that it launched in October 2017. It too uses lighting fixture infrastructure. That product was recently demonstrated at Mobile World Congress and performed a Skype call through a smartphone-installed Li-Fi sleeve, according to newspaper Metro who attended.\nI\u2019ve written about VLC and Li-Fi development before. Scientists are looking at ways of getting photovoltaic solar panels to not only power equipment, but to also act as data receivers: Laser transmissions could be beamed from a hilltop, say, to a remote installation with the panel performing double duty\u2014sun collection for power and at the same time Li-Fi data node for broadband.\nThere has also been work taking place figuring out how to send visible light data communications in the dark. It functions through imperceptible light pulses.\nUnrelated to those projects Rondolat says Philips\u2019 commercial, compete solution Li-Fi and lighting product isn\u2019t theory: It is \u201csomething that we are implementing at a pilot site in France for a customer,\u201d he says.