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25.4.2014 : 6:57

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Workpackage 4 - Hybrid Wireless Optics

One of the aims of the OMEGA project is to use optical wireless communications to provide a Gbit/s communications network using infra-red wavelengths, and 100Mbit/s communications using Visible Light Communications (VLC) in an indoor environment. These are perhaps the most demanding specifications for these types of system set so far.

Point to point communications in outdoor environments is well established, with a number of commercial ventures providing systems for Gbit/s over ranges of several hundred meters, as well as communications between satellites. However, indoor wireless systems are more challenging, with a requirement to provide coverage, as well as data rate. The wide field of view required for robust indoor coverage makes these systems considerably more challenging than their outdoor counterparts. In addition this must be achieved whilst meeting the most stringent eye safety requirements.

There are a small number of indoor applications that use optical wireless communications. Infra red remote controls, and devices that communicate according to the Infra-Red Data Association (IRDA) are in widespread use and these are the largest area of application. Finally there have been a number of high-speed point to point link demonstrations, and products. A high-data rate example is the Luciole link by JVC. This provides a1.5Gbit/s link for uncompressed High Definition TV, and uses a line of sight link with a tracking capability.

Although there are a number of point to point link demonstrations, a successful OMEGA project will represent a substantial improvement in the state of the art as it will demonstrate an optical wireless network, rather than simple point to point connections.