Mobility and Networking with Directional Communications

Project Goals

We seek to enable seamless connectivity of wireless mobile devices in the presence of inherently point-to-point links caused by the directionality of light. The overall goal this study of mobility impacts is to enable visible light communications to effectively support increases in productivity, health, and safety with the adoption of synthetic light.

The Project’s Role in Support of the Strategic Plan

Visible light communications (VLC) is positioned to support potentially dramatic increases in productivity when coupled with health, wellness and biohazard safety impacts. Direct productivity gains are expected by increasing data capacity and coverage for multiple data consumers in indoor spaces and decreasing latencies. These improvements are in the context of surging data demands driven by the proliferation of smart phones and other devices producing and consuming rich media such as video. Current systems are incapable of approaching these demands. Addressing the characteristics of light as a physical medium for communication requires addressing connected network topologies for line-of-sight (LOS) links. Hence our efforts to address mobility as it is in conflict with the stability of such links. Finally, mobile outdoor systems, particularly in the case of vehicular applications of networking are shown to be suitable for adoption of directional communications using LOS links, and are expected to yield transformative impacts in terms of safety.

This project connects closely with the mobility project which examines cooperation of VLC links to form networks that provide data and location-based services. It interfaces with the communications Testbed by providing the basis for the design and fabrication of prototype VLC devices for integration into the testbed. In turn, the link performance information gathered in the Testbed informs and sets requirements for continuing link development. The arc of this project recognizes that sources which provide VLC must also provide indoor illumination of uncompromised quality and functionality, and integrate into current and future lighting systems. Thus it is also dependent on ongoing work in Sources and Sensors.