OWC (Optical Wireless Communication)
This is a form of optic communication that uses light waves to carry signals. It may include the use of Infrared (IR) or Ultraviolet (UV) light . OWC systems that operate at visible ranges are commonly called VLC (Visible Light Communications). The main characteristic of VLC is that it uses LED technology. Optical wireless communication uses bandwidths of several Gigabits per second, and has the potential of transmitting data more than hundred times faster than available wireless solutions. In addition, it offers a minimal bit error rates (10-9 per second).
History of OWC
The earliest forms of OWC found in history are Semaphore Lines. French engineer Claude Chappe built the first optical telegraph network in 1792. The semaphore enabled the transmission of information through the use of symbols that were composed by positioning an array of lights in a given way. Another example of an early OWC device is the Heliograph.
This device conveyed information using signal flashes of sunlight by pivoting a mirror. During the 1960’s and after the invention of the laser, there were may attempts to develop OWC technology, but most failed because of laser beam divergence. During the past of the years, OWC has been only reserved for military and space applications, but due to the oversaturation of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum OWC has become more and more popular due to its speed and liability.
Advantages of OWC
The most noticeable advantage of OWC is the use of the light spectrum, which allows the transmission of greater amounts of data than a given radio frequency. OWC Systems use LED bulbs to operate, this means you can reduce the carbon footprint while also minimizing costs. Signals in OWC occupy license-free wavelenghts in the visible spectrum and don’t interfere with any other electronic devices.