VLC has good potential for smart home networking, says HomeGrid Forum

VLC modulated for Gh.n gigabit home networking could offer high-speed connectivity in many scenarios

VLC could become an important part of the G.hn ecosystem.
VLC could become an important part of the G.hn ecosystem.

Visible Light Communication (VLC) could become a major innovation in smart home connectivity, when combined with the G.hn home networking specification.

The HomeGrid Forum said that VLC, wireless networking using the light spectrum instead of radio frequency, could become an important home technology in environments with high density of connections, and for sensitive data.

Livia M. Rosu, Marketing Chair of HomeGrid Forum, an industry alliance to promote the G.hn gigabit home networking technology based on ITU-T standards, said that VLC could become an important part of the G.hn ecosystem.

Rosu has spoken about the capabilities of VLC technology globally, noting the potential that the technology has to revolutionise the Smart Home.

“VLC has great potential for Smart Homes with high density connectivity needs, especially where sensitive data needs to be transmitted between multiple connected devices within one room, because the light spectrum provides low latency and avoids the kind of interruption that can sometimes happen with radio frequency spectrum during congestion time,” said Rosu. “It supports larger bandwidths, it can act as both a source and receiver, it has low power consumption, enhanced security and is easy to install.

“This is why the market is growing at such an unprecedented rate and is expected to exceed ten billion devices by 2023”, she added.

Rosu said that VLC and Wi-Fi are complementary technologies, and VLC can provide high bandwidth connectivity in situations where Wi-Fi may not be suitable.

“Wi-Fi provides greater freedom of movement, as signals can extend throughout the home and through walls, to ensure full home coverage for consumers,” Rosu said. “VLC requires a line of sight between a lightbulb LED transceiver and a connected device, meaning that it cannot pass through walls. In other words, for environments such as schools and hospitals, VLC reduces electromagnetic interference, therefore not affecting sensitive devices. For airports or government buildings, where there is more sensitive information that can be a target of cyberattack, VLC eliminates the risk of data interception by outsiders which are out of sight, therefore offering a vastly enhanced security platform.”

For Visible Light Communication to reach its full connectivity potential, in-premises networking must provide a strong backbone for the access points to support the capabilities of VLC. HomeGrid Forum’s G.hn wireline technology provides the most reliable backbone for both VLC and Wi-Fi media, according to each use case and the corresponding requirements.

Rosu added that the Smart Grid market was expected to grow from $23.8 billion to $61.3 billion by 2023, to facilitate smart cities’ evolution.

“G.hn augments spectrum usage and provides security enhancements in addition to everything else. VLC has enormous potential and G.hn system vendors are fully prepared to embrace and support the new technology wave,” said Rosu.

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