Signify Li-Fi reports for duty with the U.S. military

May 20, 2022
The company says the Army, Navy, and Marines are already using Trulifi for secure communications, and that a Reston, VA integrator will now protect operations even more.

It’s hard to think of a setting that requires more information security than a military location. That’s why purveyors of Li-Fi systems — said to be more secure than Wi-Fi — consider the defense sector a target market. To that end, Signify has teamed up with an IT specialist to add a protective layer.

The U.S. Army appears to be among the customers of the collaboration, and other branches of the military could be as well.

Systems integrator Intelligent Waves LLC and Signify announced this week that they are working together to fortify the security of the lighting company’s Trulifi system by using Intelligent Waves’ Graypath software, which tightens the link between a remote data center and a location using Li-Fi and.

Reston, VA–based Intelligent Waves (IW) says that Graypath’s benefits include “access to a shared secure data center, without exposing or compromising a friendly network.” It describes the software as using the cloud “to randomize and distribute data across multiple paths and encrypted channels.”

Trulifi is Signify’s brand of Li-Fi, a light-based technology that uses the visible and/or nonvisible light spectrum to transmit data to laptops, tablets, and other devices. It is an alternative to the much more common Wi-Fi, which uses the radio spectrum (RF) rather than light. Signify’s Trulifi uses infrared, which is not visible to the human eye.

One reason that Li-Fi is considered to be more secure than Wi-Fi is that it requires a direct line of sight between transmitter and receiver, making it difficult for hackers to penetrate from outside.

The Intelligent Waves/Signify combination is clearly eyeing the defense market. Signify claimed in the release that it has already begun supplying three branches of the U.S. military with Trulifi.

“We are excited to offer our solution, in partnership with Intelligent Waves, to the defense industry,” said Richard Honey, head of Trulifi by Signify sales, U.S. Defense sector. “Light-based communication, unlike conventional radio technologies such as Wi-Fi and 4G/5G, offers a critical, extra layer of security; it can be controlled within a restricted space and does not penetrate through walls. This benefit has already been recognized by defense customers, with the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines adopting our game-changing Li-Fi technology.”

The announcement did not elaborate on any of the existing military Trulifi installations. It also did not state whether the military has yet deployed Intelligent Waves software with Trulifi systems. LEDs Magazine has asked for clarification.

But the announcement did come with a solid military-speak endorsement from the U.S. Army.

“Li-Fi can enhance the low probability of intercept/low probability of detection attribute on the battlefield,” said Joe Vano, transmission group lead, program management office – tactical network, Technical Management Division of the U.S. Army. “This secures the tactical operations center (TOC) to a higher degree due to its insignificant and largely undetectable RF signature while maintaining high-speed connectivity within the TOC. Reducing our adversaries’ ability to intercept and jam the battlefield commander’s network while still maintaining a network-cable–free environment within the TOC is advantageous.”

Signify and Intelligent Waves said their combination provides “defense personnel with mission-critical connectivity,” and noted that “the technology integration enables the secure transmission of data from high-risk operational locations without the danger of information being jammed, intercepted, or disrupted.”

The U.S. Army has other experience as a Li-Fi user, as its Europe and Africa group procures Li-Fi systems from Signify rival pureLiFi, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In that arrangement, Army Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Foreman has alluded to Li-Fi’s “low probability of detection, jamming, and intrusion,” and has described it as “an extremely survivable form of communications when in direct conflict with a near-peer adversary.”

Both Signify and pureLiFi offer communications technology based on LED chips. Some experts believe that the future of Li-Fi — a technology that has been slow to catch on in the commercial market — lies in laser chips.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.