Gbps Wireless Optical Network Connection through Visible Light Communications

Period of Performance: 04/11/2016 - 04/10/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

801 W Main St Array
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


In the DOE SBIR topic “Advanced Digital Network Technologies and Middleware Services”, the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research seeks grant applications for developments in advanced optical network technologies that enable DOE scientists to communicate with peers, and collect/process data at Gbps data-rates. Providing Gbps wireless connection is a challenge in last-mile networks as the data-rate of Wi-Fi technology is limited to a few hundreds of Mbps. Visible light communication (VLC) is a potential alternative data communication technique for wireless applications that uses optical energy to provide simultaneously lighting needs and data transmission. This technology transmits data using the lighting systems that are already in place for the illumination of indoor environments. VLC is a strong competitor to other communication approaches such as Wi-Fi due to the fact that it can be integrated with the existing lighting system and offer a compact, dual-use, and energy saving solution. VLC systems are challenging to design because they must provide both high speed communications and also fulfill the lighting requirements of the indoor environment. Furthermore, the modulation bandwidth of the available white LEDs is limited to 50 MHz and transmitting Gbps data using these LEDs requires sophisticated modulation and coding schemes. VLNComm, along with the University of Virginia (UVA), has successfully developed a new coding scheme that not only enables the VLC system to achieve hundreds of Mbps data-rates, but also is able to fulfill all the requirements of the lighting standards. VLNComm aims to further develop the coding schemes so that the VLC system can support 1 Gbps wireless connections and demonstrate the feasibility of the concept during Phase I under the subtopic “d. Other”, followed by fabrication and testing of a prototype in Phase II. Accomplishing such a project will not only increase speed and security of the data communication, but also will be a huge step forward in energy saving and a greener environment. Advancement in this technology will provide a double incentive for implementing economical LED lighting systems. VLNComm will use tri-chromatic white LEDs to broadcast the data at Gbps rates inside the indoor environment, and will use infrared light for the uplink connection. VLNComm will provide small USB modems to VLC users to plug into their laptops/computers and connect to the VLC network. VLNComm will consider three options to connect the LED lights and panels to the internet: a) electric grid using Power Line Communications, b) Ethernet cable and c) Optical Fiber. A fiber-wired building infrastructure will enable multiuser end-to-end Gbps wireless connectivity.