IEEE along with the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), has formed the new IEEE 802.11 Light Communications Study Group. 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.
Light communications represent a readily available and very large source of wireless spectrum outside of the traditional radio spectrum, and utilizes solid state lighting, e.g., LED lighting, installations to transmit high bandwidth data as a wireless network. To address the growing demand for wireless data, and the impending spectrum crunch, the technology has notable potential as a wireless solution that offers greater bandwidth and efficiency, security, and data density, while not being subjected to or contributing to electromagnetic interference (EMI) below 3 THz.
With industry analysts like Gartner projecting the Internet of Things (IoT) to grow to 20 billion connected devices by 2020, light communication is gaining ground through use cases that demonstrate its viability as a global wireless solution with initial applicability 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. It’s an exciting time for the light communications market sector, as it is poised for substantial growth over the next five years.
IEEE thus looks forward to broad participation under the auspices of the IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Working Group and the IEEE-SA as they 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. Deployment of technology defined by IEEE 802 standards is already globally pervasive, driven by the ever-growing needs of data networks around the world. New application areas are constantly being considered that might leverage IEEE 802 standards in their networks including wireless, twisted-pair cabling and fiber-optic cabling solutions. To better address the needs of all of these areas, IEEE 802 standards are constantly evolving and expanding. The success of these standards—from their inception through today—has been based upon their fair, open and transparent development process.