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VLC technology, one of the advanced optical wireless communication technologies, in which light in the visible region (375nm-780nm) is used as a medium for data transmission is more secure and achieves high data rates as compared to conventional wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wimax etc., which use radio waves for communication. Till late 1990s infrared spectrum is used for the communication. But in the early 2000s, researches started using visible light from LEDs as the medium for communication. Initially they were able to achieve network speed about 100Kbps. With continuous developments, VLC systems can now achieve about 800Mbps data rate for short range communications. Many companies and research institutes are conducting research to develop and commercialize Gigabit networks for long range communications.
FSO is based on the same principle as VLC but it uses light in the IR spectrum for communication. Invention RONJA device in 2001, which can achieve 10Mbps network speed over 0.87 miles boosted the research activities in the FSO technology. FSO was initially used for outdoor communication applications. But in the recent times, indoor applications like enterprise connectivity, hospitals are increasing.
Reliability and network coverage are the major issues to be considered by the companies while providing VLC services. Interferences from external light sources like sun light, normal bulbs; and opaque materials in the path of transmission will cause interruption in the communication. High installation cost of the VLC systems can be complemented by large-scale implementation of VLC. Adopting VLC technology will reduce further operating costs like electricity charges, maintenance charges etc.