Abstract

Visible light communication (VLC) has wide unlicensed bandwidth, enables communication in radio-frequency-sensitive environments, realizes energy-efficient data transmission, and has the potential to boost the capacity of wireless access networks through spatial reuse. On the other hand, WiFi provides more coverage than VLC and does not suffer from the likelihood of blockage due to the line-of-sight requirement of VLC. In order to take the advantages of both WiFi and VLC, we propose and implement two heterogeneous systems with Internet access. One is the hybrid WiFi–VLC system, utilizing a unidirectional VLC channel as the downlink and reserving the WiFi backchannel as the uplink. The asymmetric solution resolves the optical uplink challenges and benefits from the full-duplex communication based on VLC. To further enhance the robustness and increase throughput, the other system is presented, in which we aggregate WiFi and VLC in parallel by leveraging the bonding technique in the Linux operating system. We also theoretically prove the superiority of the aggregated system in terms of average system delay. Online experiment results reveal that the hybrid system outperforms the conventional WiFi for crowded environments in terms of throughput and Web page loading time, and also demonstrate the further improved performance of the aggregated system when considering the blocking duration and the distance between the access point and the user device.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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