Ton Koonen, Einhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands; Volker Jungnickel, Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute, Germany; Thas Nirmalathas, University of Melbourne, Australia
Optical wireless communications and networking is seeking to deliver wireless connectivity over the free-space using optical wavelengths in the visible and infrared spectrum. However, optical wireless needs to complement the existing radio technologies, including the rapidly maturing mm-wave and future Terahertz communication systems being under development and research, respectively. Optical wireless can also play a complimentary role for example offloading the burden from the radio technologies in situations such as high-capacity picocells. In the future 5G and 5G-beyond networks, optical wireless may provide crucial roles in meeting the 5G grand challenges such as 1000x throughput, ms latency, 0.01x power consumption, etc. All this needs not only further technical research efforts but also the identification of practical use cases in which optical wireless has unique selling points.
While the technology-oriented research has attracted major attention within the optical communications research community, with demonstrations of multi-Gbit/s wireless transmission and major research projects getting started, it is the use case which paves the way into the market. Besides superior capabilities like bandwidth on demand, support for user mobility and low cost, optical wireless increasingly needs to offer additional features, which are tailored to the identified use cases.
This workshop is intended as a forum that brings together competing ideas and leading experts from research and industry into a collision space and to facilitate a critical debate on the fundamental capabilities of optical wireless technologies and its chance in the very competitive wireless market. This will require putting the focus onto capabilities and opportunities of optical wireless, its key challenges and ways forward towards commercializing the outcomes of the exciting developments in the optical wireless field.