Transitioning to Hybrid Radio/Optical Networks: Development of a Flexible Visible Light Communication Testbed

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1st International Conference on 5G for Ubiquitous Connectivity
Alexander McBride1, Burim Derveni1, Jeffrey Proko1, Pekka Kamsula2, Helal Chowdhury2, Tuomo Hanninen2, Juha-Pekka Mäkelä2
, Marcos Katz2
1: Drexel University
2: University of Oulu

    As the number of wireless connected devices grow, the wireless industry is challenged to meet demand while continuing to improve data rates and QoS. Visible light communication (VLC) has significant potential to be used as a new high speed layer in future heterogeneous RF networks. This work reviews the major challenges and important applications of hybrid VLC/RF networks, and details a versatile software defined VLC-downlink/RF-uplink experimental testbed. Our hope in this report is to support and aid RF groups as they transition their research interests to include RF/VLC hybrid networks. Given the low cost, minimal hardware requirements, and experimental flexibility, this testbed represents an ideal system to begin RF/VLC hybrid experiments. In this context, we offer this report as a unique blend of review, initial experimental testbed observations, and visionary moving forward towards 5G communication.