Beamsteering for optical wireless: opportunities and challenges

dominic O'brien

The demand for indoor wireless access to the internet continues to grow exponentially, creating high demands on the wireless spectrum, and the need for densely packed infrastructure to be able to meet this capacity. RF wireless systems are moving to higher frequencies, with the use of beamsteered RF links introduced as part of the 5G familly of standards as one example.

Optical links that use beamsteering can augment the available RF capacity, and the highest wireless data rates demonstrated use such optical wireless techniques. In this presentation the technical challenges and potential of beamsteered links will be explored. Results that show Tb/s communications, as well as systems for quantum key exchange will be detailed, as well as potential future directions.


What drives you?
I’m interested in how light can help with the wireless communications we all use

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
To understand how wireless might evolve

Professor Dominic O’Brien is a Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford and leads the optical communications group. He is the Director of the UK National Hub in Quantum Computing and Simulation. His research is in optical wireless communications, with a particular focus on system demonstration, with a number of world-firsts in this area. Recent demonstrations, together with industrial and academic partners, include Quantum Key Distribution free-space links between handheld devices, between UAVs and ground stations, and Terabit/s wireless links within buildings.

Professor Dominic O’Brien is an Invited Speaker at the 2021 edition of the Online Optical Wireless Communications Conference.

Oxford is a truly international university, bringing together the best and brightest minds from around the world. Our 13,000 staff and 22,000 students come from a wide range of backgrounds and over 140 countries and territories, making Oxford a diverse and dynamic place to work and study.

Ranked number one in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education World Rankings, we are at the forefront of the full range of academic disciplines, including medical sciences; mathematical, physical and life sciences; humanities; and social sciences. As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, we have long traditions of scholarship, but we are also forward-looking, creative and cutting-edge. Oxford is one of Europe’s most entrepreneurial universities: we rank first in the UK for university spin-outs, with more than 130 companies created to date. We are also recognised as leaders in support for social enterprise.

Oxford’s collegiate system lies at the heart of our success, giving academics and students the benefit of belonging to a large, internationally renowned institution and to an intimate, interdisciplinary academic community. Employers consistently report that Oxford graduates have excellent employability skills such as problem-solving, leadership and communication: 95 per cent of Oxford leavers are in employment or further study six months after graduating.

We believe our strengths lie in empowering our academics and students to address fundamental questions of global significance, while providing all members of the University with a welcoming and inclusive environment that enables individuals to achieve their best work.

Find out more about what makes Oxford so special at

Leave a Reply