Optics and Photonics Journal, 2013, 3, 148-152
doi:10.4236/opj.2013.32B036 Published Online June 2013 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/opj)
Design of Wireless Optical Access System using LED
Liwei Ding, Fang Liu, Yingjie He, Hongbo Zhu, Yongjin Wang
Institute of Communication Technology, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Jiangsu, China
This paper develops a prototype to demonstrate a full-duplex wireless visible light communication (VLC) system based
on Universal Serial Bus (USB) port. Combing with a USB 2.0 port on one board, it can achieve up to 2 Mbps bit rates
error free, which is mainly limited to the USB bridge circuit, between two computers for data transmission, such as text,
audio and video. Hyper Terminal and self-written software are used to allow setting the transmission data rate, control
bits, check bits and achieve real-time transmission between any two mobile devices with a USB port. The work is based
on the research of VLC local access network. This paper also shows the experimental results and the relationship be-
tween system transmission eye diagram and bit rate.
Keywords: Visible Light Communications; Visible Light Access Networking; USB Interface; Real-time Transmission;
Looking into the future, traditional home and office illu-
mination tools will soon be substituted by the lower en-
ergy consuming, longer lifetime and health harmless
LED devices. Meanwhile, the very fast changing capa-
bility in the output power makes LED devices possib le to
transmit a large amount of data at high speeds in the
visible range, which is an added advantage of LED be-
sides its illumination purpose. Visible light communica-
tion (VLC) using white LEDs has aroused global atten-
tion. At present, many famous research institutions and
universities, such as the Visible Light Communications
Consortium (VLCC) [1-2], the European OMEGA pro-
ject , the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) 
and so on, have dedicated much to area. And it has wit-
nessed increasing interest in the research community with
a forthcoming IEEE standard . High speed transmis-
sion rate [6,8], channel characteristics [9,10], modulation
and demodulation methods [11-13], etc [14,15] are the
main focuses of research.
USB is a universal standard of external bus to specify
the connection and communication through computer
and peripheral electronic devices. USB port as the inter-
face to PC with its popularity and support to hot plugging.
VLC with a variety of practical applications in short-
range transmission scenarios is promised to enter into
people’s daily life. The channel between two computers
via VLC has been shown in [16-19], where RS-232 pro-
tocol or RS-485 protocol is used to connect visible light
module with a PC. Design of an integrated optical re-
ceiver using USB interface is introduced in . The
data rate and transmission distance can surely be im-
proved by increasing the number of LEDs and adopting
modulation schemes. An application scenario for the
developed system is indoor short distance wireless
transmission where LED with communication function is
enveloped as a desk lamp and when turned on, data
stream flows wirelessly in both ways.
In this paper, a full-duplex access system using white
LED based on USB port with 2 Mbps data rate is de-
signed as a basic visible light access network. Hyper
Terminal and self-written software are used to achieve
the transmission of data and real-time audio transmission
between two PCs. The rest of this paper is organized as
follows. Section 2 gives the system design and system
characteristics. In section 3, the testing and results of
transmission link is discussed. Finally, Section 4 con-
cludes the paper.
2. System Design and System Characteristics
2.1. System Design
A CH340 is used to connect USB interface for realizing
the conversion of signal from differential to TTL, or in-
verse. USB signal after conversion has a 4V peak-to-
peak voltage value. A voltage follower then plays the
role of buffer to amplify the signal current to an adequa te
level, driving LED for lig hting. A h igh p ower white LED
of 1W and with the beam angel 120°is used as optical
transmission source. OOK NRZ data for Intensity modu-
lation (IM) and direct detection (DD) scheme is chosen
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPJ
L. W. DING ET AL. 149
for the widely reception in VLC research. The circuit
design of transmitter is given as Figure 1.
The receiver employs a commercially available Si PIN
(Hamamatsu S6968) photodiode for optical to electrical
conversion with 150 mm2 effective active area, 14mm
active area size and 35°half angle. The received optical
signal is sent to a low pass filter followed by a custom
amplifier for recovery. A decision circuit (LT1715) is
used as a single threshold voltage comparator to achieve
the signal decision with a reference voltage level to ob-
tain the original signal. The TTL signal after decision is
sent to CH340 to achieve the conversion from TTL sig-
nal to USB serial signal. The whole circuit of receiver
design is given in Figure 2. It needs to be noted that the
transceiver module is composed of a transmitter and a
receiver to realize a full-duplex wireless communication.
Transceiver design is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 1. Transmitter circuit diagram.
Figure 2. Receiver circuit diagram.
Figure 3. Transceiver block diagram.
2.2. System Characteristic
All the system power supply is supported by the 5V DC
from USB port. The driver of CH340 must be firstly in-
stalled on PC before being connected to a transceiver
module. After transmission rate being set and Com port
being selected in Hyper Terminal, which is a communi-
cation tool available in computer’s self-carried enclo-
sures, PC treats the transceiver module as a visual serial
port via which all types of the data can be transmitted,
such as text, audio, video and so on. Another application
example is developed using Visual C#. Program is cre-
ated to achieve real time audio transmission between two
transceiver-settled computers. The input voice from mi-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPJ
L. W. DING ET AL.
crophone or music of wave waveform type is captured by
one computer, and then audio data is sent to the selected
Com port and transmitted by our transceiver module.
After a light of sight channel, the opposite transceiver
module interfaced on the second PC received the bit
streams and played it real time. The physical map of the
system model is shown in Figure 4. The transmission
between two computers using Hyper Terminal is shown
in Figure 5.
3. Testing and Results
With the VLC system described above, performance of
the transceiver module is measured. On one hand, we
studied the eye pattern of the TTL signal before decision
circuit versus data rate, and the relationship between data
rate and eye diagram is investigated. On the other hand,
the text transmission using program based on Visual C#
is also given. The system is tested using the configura-
tion shown in Figure 6, as the arbitrary waveform gen-
erator and oscilloscope instead of PCs.
Figure 7 presents the eye diagrams for the receiver ar-
bitrary OOK NRZ data (PN23) at speeds of 1 Mbps and
2 Mbps after optical signal conversation. The eye dia-
grams of the signal receive without amplify and filtering
are clear, thus show error free performance. The eye dia-
grams indicate that the signal can be correct recovered
after deci s ion circu i t.
Figure 4. Physical map of system design.
Figure 5. Prototype of the full-duplex system.
Figure 6. Testing block diagram.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPJ
L. W. DING ET AL. 151
Figure 7. Eye diagram waveforms after direct detection without filtering and being amplified at (a) 1 Mbit/s data rate, (b) 2
Mbit/s data rate.
Figure 8. (a) Eye diagram Q-factor Vs data rate, (b) fre-
quency response curves of the whit light LED.
We obtained the Q-factor of eye diagram at different
transmission rates and estimated the BER from Q-factor.
All BERs are below 10-6 when data rate goes up to 4.5
Mbit/s. The curve of Q-factor vs data rate is showed in
Figure 8(a). We can find that the BER performance is
mainly restricted to 3 dB bandwidth of the white LED
emitter, where the normalized response is shown in Fig-
In this experiment, the system of VLC was demon-
strated for applying to data transmission because the
concept of VLC can be used in marine, automotive, un-
derwater, home network and other scenarios. The green
waveforms stand for the transmission signal and the yel-
low waveforms come from the receiver after decision
circuit, as Figure 9 shown. It is clear that no bit error
Figure 9. Captured data waveforms after decision circuit at
(a) 1 Mbit/s data rate, (b) 2 Mbit/s data rate.
occurs after visible light transmission through the system
and the decision circuit can correctly complete the signal
4. Conclusions and Future Work
We developed a full-duplex optical wireless system pro-
totype to achieve the transmission between two com-
puters using white light LED. The upper limit transmis-
sion rate is 2 Mbit/s, which is restricted to USB bridge
circuit CH340. The obtained Q-factor of eye diagram at
different transmission rates and estimated the BER from
Q-factor. All BERs are below 10-6 when data rate goes
up to 4.5 Mbit/s. The higher USB bridge circuit, the more
optimizing circuit designs, efficient coding method, ad-
vanced modulation techniques and mechanism for cor-
recting errors will be considered to improvement the
transmission system in our future work.
This work is jointly supported by NSFC (11104147),
Jiangsu 973 project (BK2011027), and research project
(NY211001, BJ211026) .
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPJ
L. W. DING ET AL.
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