Spectrum Networks: Nurturing Resilient, Lightning Fast, Wireless Connectivity

Neil Gunnarson, Co-Founder and Chief Operation Officer IoT transforms the enterprise sphere into a hyper-connected network, designed to achieve exceptional efficiency measures across varied workflows. According to Statista, the number of IoT devices worldwide will almost triple, from 8.74 billion in 2020 to more than 25 billion in 2030. However, the speed, bandwidth, and security protocols of existing wireless networks that use radio frequency (RF)—WiFi, mobile communications— have not been able to keep up with the bandwidth requirements of that rapidly growing number of devices. With only limited bandwidth allocated to WiFi, the possibility of a ‘spectrum crunch’ looms large for most sectors using RF devices for their communication needs. To mitigate these underlying issues, Spectrum Networks is developing Laser-based Light Fidelity (LiFi) solutions that harness the power of light to deliver unprecedented speeds, bandwidth, and security for wireless connectivity. With its LiFi solutions, the company is set to transform wireless connectivity for the masses.

“Using both the visible and invisible light spectrum, Laser-based LiFi solutions can deliver 100 times more speed and 1,000 times more bandwidth than the existing WiFi systems,” states Neil Gunnarson, Co-Founder, and Chief Operation Officer, at Spectrum Networks.

Facilitating Improved Connectivity for the Aviation Industry

The cornerstone of Spectrum Networks was laid when four aviation industry veterans set out onthe path to revolutionize lighting and wireless connectivity in the private, commercial, and military aircraft sectors. Based on their extensive experience, the partners realized that LiFi could not only better support passengers’ streaming needs, especially with high resolution video and audio now a common expectation, but it could also enable the next generation of the “connected cabin;” a truly wireless backbone to bolster technology advancements while removing hundreds of pounds of wire weight. And unlike WiFi, which uses radio frequencies to communicate and is susceptible to security threats, LiFi communicates via light and emits no RF signature beyond the physical boundary of the aircraft. Thus, keeping all data and content completely secure and without creating electromagnetic interference (EMI) with sensitive equipment in the flight deck.

To bring this vision to life, Spectrum Networks partnered with Kyocera, a company that develops laser-based lighting solutions for general illumination. Kyocera had recently partnered with Prof Harald Haas, the inventor of LiFi, after he quickly realized that Laser-based light sources could take LiFi to the next level.
All existing LiFi systems today use LEDs, which can be modulated at 100Mhz with data rates in the 100s of Mbps. However, Laser-based light sources can be modulated at 10Ghz which is why Laser-based LiFi is exponentially faster. With this superior bandwidth, Spectrum Networks’ LiFi solutions deliver the optimum experience in any high-density environment, even beyond aircraft.

Although most Apple and Andriod devices already have light sensing technologies capable of supporting LiFi, most don’t support them natively… YET. So app developers have created applications that utilize those light sensing technologies, to enable them to work on LiFi networks. For devices that don’t have light sensing technologies built in, like a laptop for example, the company is designing a USB-C dongle to enable LiFi communications for the device —very similar to the early adoption phase of WiFi. In addition, the company is also designing a bi-directional sensor package, which can be embedded into existing products, such as displays or touchscreen panels for airplanes, yachts, and other vehicles.

“Using both the visible and invisible light spectrum, Laser-based LiFi solutions can deliver 100 times more speed and 1,000 times more bandwidth than the existing WiFi systems”

Moreover, along with superior lighting output, Spectrum Networks’ devices deliver continuous air and surface sanitization through 222nm FAR-UVC lighting technologies. It is scientifically proven that ultraviolet radiation has disinfectant properties, due to its ability to inactivate the microbial cells of viruses and pathogens. However, direct exposure to conventional UV light can be hazardous to both skin and eyes. Studies have shown that a narrow band of UVC light has been discovered, coined Far- UVC, that has the same highly effective germicidal properties as conventional UV light, but without the associated human health risks. In fact, far-UVC light cannot penetrate the human dead skin layer or tear layer of the eyes. “We offer one of the world’s first devices, specifically designed for aviation, yet universally applicable that can safely and continuously sanitize the air and surfaces in occupied spaces, providing unparalleled protection to passengers even if a sick passenger boards the flight, something no other product or technology can achieve today,” saysGunnarson. Spectrum Networks’ 222nm FAR-UVC lighting solutions will enhance aircraft safety by continuously sanitizing aircraft interiors, even during flight, eliminating a long list of pathogens from COVID-19 and Ebola to H1N1 and the common cold.

Spectrum Networks biggest differentiator is one that revolves around their philosophy, which is to use cutting edge technology to create custom, simple to install, drop-in replacement fixtures that minimize aircraft integration efforts and downtime. This cutting-edge technology includes the use of in-house manufactured carbon fiber infused 3D printed parts to rapidly design and customize airworthy components.

“We want to minimize any impact to the interiors of the aircraft or other assets and make it cost-effective for the clients to deploy our solutions,” states Gunnarson.
Notably, carbon fiber used by Spectrum Networks is one of the few thermoplastic materials, which is accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use in aerospace certified products.

LiFi for a variety of Industry

Spectrum Networks plans to initially launch its Patent Pending products in the private aircraft market, as this segment supports exploratory technologies. As most of the private aircraft are tailored to the owner’s specifications, it will provide adequate flexibility when it comes to deploying LiFi technology.

Spectrum Networks is also contemplating launching its LiFi solutions into commercial market spaces, such as office buildings and structures. Along with enhanced wireless connectivity, these facilities can mitigate security concerns by replacing their existing lighting fixtures with the company’s laser LiFi solutions. The LiFi solutions can improve audio and video systems that require high bandwidth to provide an immersive experience. While LiFi solutions deliver ultimate wireless connectivity, the 222nm FAR-UVC lighting solutions can disinfect any enclosed space at the same time.

Currently, Professor Haas and his team are conducting performance and evaluation testing with Spectrum Networks’ fully functioning LiFi demonstration units at the University of Edinburgh. After successful completion of this testing, the company will go through rigorous FAA testing to establish the efficiency and safety of its products.

We want to minimize any impact to the interiors of the aircraft or other assets and make it cost-effective for the clients to deploy our solutions

On the UVC side, the company deployed its 222nm FAR-UVC lighting solutions on a Gulfstream G450 jet to validate its efficacy. Empirical tests confirmed that 90 percent deactivation of a human coronavirus was achieved in only minutes, which could be a game changer for aviation. Spectrum Networks expects to successfully complete all required testing and launch its products by the end of this year. The company has already garnered the interest of many potential clients and is aiming to add more clients once the product goes to the market. Concurrently, Spectrum Networks will continue the evolution of Laser-based LiFi technology, increasing speeds of wireless connectivity to remarkable levels.

With the ever-growing need for wireless connectivity, LiFi technology is set to be the future of wireless connectivity with limitless bandwidth and lightning speed.

Spectrum Networks

Fife, Washington

Neil Gunnarson, Co-Founder and Chief Operation Officer

Spectrum Networks was founded by long time aerospace industry professionals, working to revolutionize lighting and wireless connectivity in aviation. They’re passionate about delivering a reliable solution to dramatically improve wireless content & data distribution while making aircraft cabins safer environments for all

Spectrum Networks