Optical Wireless Communications: What Is Stopping Us?

Sunday, 06 June 08:00 – 10:30


Volker Jungnickel, Fraunhofer, Germany
Norman Swenson, Norman Swenson Consulting, USA


This workshop aims at figuring out what role optical wireless communications (OWC) could play in Beyond 5G and 6G Wireless Networks. OWC distinguishes into long- and short-range applications.  OWC gains importance where it can leverage the unique selling points of the light medium as opposed to RF, such as ultra-high capacity, immunity against electromagnetic interference, the possibility to communicate wirelessly through water, and the ability to provide additional security.  There are synergies when combining OWC with radio technology, yielding a hybrid system having better properties than the individual technologies could offer. 

Short-range OWC systems provide high-speed mobile access in hotspot areas, also denoted as Light Fidelity (LiFi). LiFi is coming out of previous niche applications just recently covering business applications first, maybe followed by a significant customer market.

Long-range OWC systems comprise fixed and tracked/directed free-space optical (FSO) links e.g., between buildings/towers and in space, both space-to-space and space-to-ground. Different applications impose different requirements in terms of pointing and tracking, and immunity to atmospheric effects. 

The workshop will include speakers representing a broad range of LiFi and FSO applications during two sessions. A panel follows each session, so that the audience can contribute, too.


Session One: FSO

Morio Toyoshima, NICT, Japan
Outlook for Satellite Communication Using Free Space Optics

Hamid Hemmati, ViaSat, USA
High-Rate Optical Feederlink to GEO Satellites

Joachim Horwath, Mynaric, Germany
Cost Efficient LEO-optical Inter-satellite Links: Overcoming the Challenges

Baris I. Erkmen, X, USA
Free Space Optical Communications for Terrestrial Applications

Katherine Newell, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, USA
FSO System Considerations at Sea

Session Two: LiFi

You-Wei Chen, NeoPhotonics, USA
Key Enabling Technologies for Post 5G

Harald Haas, Univ. Strathclyde, U.K.
Tbit/s Optical Wireless for Beyond 5G

Ton Koonen, TU Eindhoven, Netherlands
From Wide Beams to Personalized Narrow Ones: Components, Systems and Potential

Kai Lennert Bober, Fraunhofer HHI, Germany
LiFi from the System Point of View

Jean-Paul Linnartz, Signify/Philips Research, Netherlands
Rolling out LiFi: Translating User Experiences into Research Challenges