Q & A

What is LiFi?

LiFi is a way of transmitting data - including the internet – to devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc... using visible light from LEDs pulsed at high frequency.

Is it completely new?

Not really. The remote control you use to send instructions to your TV uses invisible infrared light, and, at the other end of the scale, lasers send vast amounts of data down fiber optic cables to provide telecoms and broadband services, so the principle has been around for decades. The advent of LED lighting, which can be switched on and off instantaneously, has further enabled this technology.

How fast is it?

LiFi can perform more than 100 times faster than Wi-Fi, which would mean you could download HD movies in seconds.

Would I notice a difference in my lighting system equipped with LiFi?

No, because the lights are pulsed at extremely high frequencies which is undetectable to the human eye. It operates at many hundreds of times faster than high-frequency lighting power supplies or ballasts which are used today.

How do devices download information using LiFi?

One option is to use the forward-facing camera on your smart phone or laptop. Applications already exist in the iOS and Android app stores. In truth, the components required to deploy this technology are much simpler than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Think about how many devices already have some sort of light-sensing capability to enable functions such as automatic screen dimming. Alternatively, a plug-in dongle with built-in photoreceptor receives the information.

How does data get into the lighting system?

The light transmitting the data would need to be connected to the internet or network. This could be with a fiber or Ethernet connection via an inline driver.

What are the advantages over Wi-Fi?

The amount of data which can be transmitted over Wi-Fi is limited; the more users or devices which are trying to communicate, the slower it becomes. Ever tried to connect to Wi-Fi in a busy exhibition hall or airport departure lounge?

LiFi Safe?

In many situations LiFi could be safer than Wi-Fi. The radio frequencies used in Wi-Fi can interfere with sensitive electronic equipment, for example in medical equipment or hazardous locations found in chemical plants.

What about security?

Light can be made very directional, and obviously can’t travel through walls, so to eavesdrop or hack a system you need to be able to see the light.

Can lights still be dimmed when using LiFi?

Yes, lights can still be dimmed without compromising network speed or range.

Does LiFi require line-of-sight to operate?

No, LiFi does not require a line-of-sight between the transmitter and receiver.

What's the difference between germicidal UVC & FAR-UVC?

FAR-UVC is the only wavelength proven safe for use in occupied spaces to efficiently neutralize pathogens without damaging human skin or eyes. Germicidal UVC (254nm wavelength) can damage human tissue and therefore can only be used in unoccupied spaces.

For more information, links to numerous safety and efficacy studies regarding FAR-UVC can be found under the REFERENCES & RESOURCES link below.

What are the advantages of continuous 222nm FAR-UVC disinfection over other methods?

222nm FAR-UVC: Safely & effectively sanitizes air and surfaces by destroying pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, mold and spores by delivering an appropriate dose of invisible disinfecting light.

Wipes and Chemical Solutions: Wiping down surfaces regularly can be a useful part of a multi-layered disinfection strategy but have not proven to be effective at eliminating the spread of pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 alone. The traditional sanitation practice of wiping down surfaces, spraying or fogging generates physical waste, introduces potentially troublesome chemicals to an environment and requires paid labor to implement. The cost of utilizing 222nm FAR-UVC disinfection lighting is often 50-100 times cheaper than those alternatives when factoring in labor and materials costs and is not subject to human error and missing intended spots. Attempting to clean while spaces are occupied is also disruptive and often impossible. In contrast, 222nm FAR-UVC lighting provides safe autonomous, and continuous disinfection while spaces are occupied, without the use of water, bleach, chemicals, rags, paper towels, mercury, hydrogen peroxide, cold plasma or ozone.

HEPA Filters: A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter can be an important part of common air purifier systems and is recognized by NIOSH as an evidence-based disinfection solution. The potential challenge in relying on HEPA filters alone is that ASHRAE estimates only 40-60% of the air within a space is recirculated through the ductwork if the HEPA filter is mounted in the HVAC ductwork and even less may be filtered in smaller portable units. They also do nothing for surface contamination and could potentially spread the viral load beyond the area a contamination event would have naturally settled.

Deionization Systems: The potential attraction of deionization systems is they are cheap and their manufacturers indicate they may have relatively long product lives. However, as far as actual disinfection in real-world applications is concerned, there do not appear to be independent studies confirming evidence-based efficacy and there are reports they may be creating unwanted byproducts.

HVAC UV-C Disinfection: Ultraviolet light is the only evidence-based disinfection alternative recognized by ASHRAE to be effective. Appropriately sized 254nm UV-C systems in the ductwork can deactivate airborne pathogens in the ductwork fairly effectively. However, ASHRAE also estimates only 40-60% of the air within a space is recirculated through the ductwork where conventional UV-C can safely disinfect and be shielded from human exposure, leaving significant spaces where the viral load can remain within a room. Conventional 254nm UV-C in the ductwork also does nothing to treat the surfaces within a space leaving considerable additional exposure risk whereas 222nm FAR-UVC can treat all of the air and the tops of surfaces in a room.

Upper-Room Germicidal UV-C Disinfection: Upper Room Germicidal UV has proven to be even more effective at reducing the viral load in occupied rooms than HVAC ductwork based systems, particularly when utilized in a room with ceiling fans to provide better air mixing. Upper-Air germicidal UV-C (254nm) systems are designed not to expose people to their harmful radiation. However, when a carrier contaminates a space either with a sneeze, cough, talking, breathing or singing, gravity immediately begins to pull most of the pathogens towards the ground or other surfaces (such as desks, chairs, etc). As a result, while these upper air systems may also use air handling systems to try to fight gravity, they may not address a meaningful amount of the contaminated air and surfaces and may even keep some pathogens airborne longer which could be counterproductive. They also do not provide any surface treatment. Because 222nm FAR-UVC lighting is safe for human exposure, it can overcome these challenges from the ceiling to the floor in either upper-room or ceiling-mount fixtures, providing a much more comprehensive whole room disinfection solution.

Ultimately, 222nm FAR-UVC provides the safest, most cost-effective, evidence-based disinfection solution.

Why was 222nm FAR-UVC disinfecting light not commercialized sooner?

UV lighting capable of reliably reproducing a narrow band around 222nm has, until relatively recently, simply not been technically or commercially available, which prevented data from being captured and evaluated for potential applications. In addition, in the pre-COVID-19 era, demand for disinfection of the spaces people occupy was low, as traditional sanitation practices were, with some notable exceptions such as hospital-acquired infections and foodborne illness, able to either effectively mitigate the spread of illness or people had just accepted the risks, even if better solutions were available. Further, most people alive today had not previously faced a global pandemic, and with short memories and/or a fatalistic belief that nothing could be done to eradicate disease, there was less concern or at least a lack of a call to action regarding infectious disease-causing pathogens.

222nm FAR-UVC has been proven to be the safest and most effective evidenced-based disinfection method by leading researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Colorado, St Andrews, Hiroshima, Kobe and countless other reputable academic medical research institutions, corporations such as Boeing and Acuity, and trade organizations such as ASP, IUVA and ASHRAE.