IEEE forms 802.11 Light Communications Study Group

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The IEEE has formed the IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group to work towards standards for light-based wireless local area networks (LANs) or Li-Fi as it is often known.

The new study group will directly engage with manufacturers, operators and end users in consensus building efforts and to create a Project Authorization Request (PAR) towards developing a global wireless local area network light communications standard.

Optical communication represents a readily available and very large source of wireless spectrum beyond the traditional radio spectrum, the organisation notes. Solid state lighting, such as LEDs, can be used to transmit high-bandwidth data signals without wires, while not being subjected to or contributing to electromagnetic interference (EMI) below 3THz. The technology also has great potential in applications where security is a concern (see 'Li-Fi’ offers secure alternative for wireless company networks).

With industry analysts like Gartner projecting the Internet of Things (IoT) to grow to 20 billion connected devices by 2020, light communication looks ideal for applications in EMI-challenged environments, such as hospitals, petrochemical plants, and airplanes, but also secure environments where RF is not sanctioned.

“In just a few short years, the interest in light communications has grown significantly and there is an enormous amount of valuable knowledge that vendors and operators can share as they work together to advance the technology globally,” said Nikola Serafimovski, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group. “It’s an exciting time for the light communications market sector, as it is poised for substantial growth over the next five years. We look forward to broad participation under the auspices of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group and the IEEE-SA as we work to develop the light communications market in line with industry needs, and to ensure best practices that drive market expansion.”

The IEEE 802.11 Working Group is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society’s IEEE 802 (LAN/MAN) Standards Committee.

For more information, visit the IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group web page.

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