Networking Research

With multiple possibly mobile terminals, design of a multi-user free-space optical communication network is a relatively unexplored area of research even though fiber optical networking is mature and millimeter wave based networking is recently paid attention. Multiple simultaneously active wireless optical connections have to be separated to avoid collision. Assigning the available spectrum in different degrees of freedom to different connections is a challenge since light beams may be either directional or diffused. In this project, we identify the right set of feasible solutions to media access control strategies as appropriate, closely tied to the PHY layer. We also design appropriate interworking units to convert the lower PHY layer data to information that is easily understood by the higher layers. This requires appropriate modules at the MAC and network layers to facilitate the conversion. We carefully study higher layer protocol performance due to bandwidth mismatches between the current optical network and other existing communication networks (infrastructure-based such as fiber, cable, xDSL, or power line, or wireless networks such as radio-over-fiber, free space optics, WiMAX, 3G, WiFi). We design appropriate protocol modifications towards maximizing the network performance in the considered settings.