Free space optic (FSO) communication is a line-of-sight technology that uses infrared (IR) light through the atmosphere to provide wireless connectivity between two points.
In comparison to radio frequency (RF) counterparts, the FSO link has a very high optical bandwidth available, allowing much higher data rates on the order of Gigabits per second (Gbps). Since FSO systems use very narrow laser beams, the resulting spatial confinement provides a high reuse factor and an inherent security. Furthermore, their deployment does not require license fees since they operate in the IR optical band which is unregulated worldwide.
The increasing consumer demand for mobile data which will further accelerate with the introduction of 5G has obliged operators to upgrade their network capacity. To that end, one of the most effective approaches is to enhance the spatial reuse of limited spectrum through dense deployment of small cells to complement existing macrocellular networks. Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes which have a range from 10 meters to a few hundred metres. They are deployed on public and private infrastructure within the urban environment. Typical deployment sites include pole tops (e.g., street lighting, traffic lights, telco poles, etc.), bus stops, and building walls.