Visible light communication (VLC) is considered a strong future candidate for indoor wireless communication. However, its performance seems to be relatively unsatisfactory when compared to wireless local area network (WLAN) communication using millimeter waves. To improve the performance of VLC, numerous technologies have been proposed so far, in both electrical and optical domains. Among the proposals, optical beamforming (OB) is an optical-domain technology that can concentrate light in a specific direction or on a target spot. It can significantly improve VLC performance and can be widely used, because it does not depend on electrical modulation schemes. Therefore, this review discusses the concept, principle, and types of OB, the structure of a VLC system using OB, performance results of OB, and the combination of OB with electrical signal modulation in VLC. OB is expected to be one of the key techniques in future VLC implementations, similar to radio-frequency beamforming in millimeter-wave communication.

© 2018 Optical Society of Korea

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