In this work, we have designed, developed and deployed the world's first optical wireless communication (OWC) system using off-the-shelf lasers and solar photovoltaics. Four bidirectional OWC prototypes have been installed on the Orkney Islands of Scotland at a 30 m link distance for the provision of high-speed internet access to two residential properties. The silicon-made solar panels can harvest power up to 5 W from sunlight and they offer data rates as high as 8 Mb/s. Using additional analogue processing, data rates higher than the existing landline broadband connection are achieved. This breakthrough opens the development path to low cost, self-powered and plug-and-play free-space optical (FSO) systems.
- communication systems
- energy harvesting
- free-space optical communication
- light communication
- optical wireless communications
- solar energy