Optical Wireless Communication Channel Measurements and Models

Ahmed Al-Kinani, Cheng-Xiang Wang, Li Zhou, Wensheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)
1292 Downloads (Pure)


Optical wireless communications (OWCs) refer to wireless communication technologies which utilize optical carriers in infrared (IR), visible light, or ultraviolet (UV) bands of electromagnetic spectrum (EM). For the sake of an OWC link design and performance evaluation, a comprehensive understanding and an accurate prediction of link behavior are indispensable. Therefore, accurate and efficient channel models are crucial for the OWC link design. This paper first provides a brief history of OWCs. It also considers OWC channel scenarios and their utilization trade-off in terms of optical carrier, range, mobility, and power efficiency. Furthermore, the main optical channel characteristics that affect the OWC link performance are investigated. A comprehensive overview of the most important OWCs channel measurement campaigns and channel models, primarily for wireless infrared communications (WIRCs) and visible light communications (VLCs), are presented. OWCs channel models are further compared in terms of computation speed, complexity, and accuracy. The survey considers indoor, outdoor, underground, and underwater communication environments. Finally, future research directions in OWCs channel measurements and models are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Early online date18 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2018


  • Channel models
  • Optical fiber communication
  • Optical sensors
  • Optical transmitters
  • Optical variables measurement
  • optical wireless channel characteristics
  • optical wireless channel measurements
  • optical wireless channel models.
  • visible light communications
  • Wireless communication
  • Wireless infrared communications
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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