Research towards Optical Wireless in 6G

Optical Wireless adds value to 6G mobile systems in scenarios where RF is limited. Light can use free optical spectrum to realize high data rates in dense areas with precise positioning and more secure. During 2023, we finalized IEEE Std 802.15.13 to address high-end industrial applications and IEEE Std 802.11bb for high-volume residential applications.

2025, 5th edition

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We demonstrated 3 cm precision for 3D indoor navigation in real environments. Moreover, we learned how to model the optical wireless channel more efficiently and accurate in real scenarios with distributed optical frontends and multiple mobile users. We increasingly understand how to realize cost-efficient front-haul solutions to distribute OWC signals in a room. We transmitted data more than 10 times faster compared to LEDs by modulating a high-power VCSEL array as a whole. For the optical wireless link, this allows a simpler protocol design without beamforming. We keep illuminating a large area and allow uncompromised freedom to move. Existing RF protocols for below 7 GHz remain useful while data rates are increased. Due to the similarities between OWC and mm-wave, we proposed to address both media jointly in a future amendment of the Wi-Fi standard 802.11.

About Volker Jungnickel
Volker Jungnickel (M) received PhD and habilitation in Physics and Communications Engineering in 1995 and 2015, respectively. He joined Fraunhofer HHI in 1997, working on optical wireless communications, multiple antennas in mobile networks and fixed optical access networks. Volker teaches and supervises thesis at TU Berlin appointing him as extraordinary professor in 2021. Volker served in optical wireless standards as chair of IEEE P802.15.13 and as technical editor of IEEE P802.11bb.

About Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI)
Fraunhofer HHI is a leading applied research institute in the field of fixed and wireless communications. The core competences of HHI are in the areas of Photonic Networks and Systems, Photonic Components, Mobile Broadband Systems and Electronic Imaging. Activities in photonic networks and components expand a spectrum from highly capacitive flexible long-distance backbone networks, covering also metro-, access- and in-building networks including converged fixed-wireless links, mobile fronthaul and the development and manufacturing of optical and opto-electronic components and modules. Our range includes InP-based lasers and detectors with wavelengths from 1.1 μm to 2.0 μm, polymer lightwave circuits, and diffractive optics. R&D-activities in the area of mobile broadband systems focus to design aspects of future cellular systems and their realization for various mobile communications systems, multi-antenna systems (MIMO), resource management for cellular mobile radio and WPAN systems.

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Volker Jungnickel will give an invited speaker presentation at the 2023 edition of the Optical Wireless Communication Conference.