A Cell-free Networking System with Visible Light
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LED luminaries are now deployed densely in indoor areas to provide uniform illumination. Visible Light Communication (VLC) can also benefit from this dense LED infrastructure. In this paper, we propose DenseVLC, a cell-free massive MIMO networking system enabled by densely distributed LEDs, that forms different beamspots to simultaneously serve multiple receivers. This is a cell-free system, as there is no notion of autonomous cells and transmitters cooperate to jointly serve the users. Given a power budget for communication, DenseVLC assigns the power budget among the distributed LEDs to optimize the system throughput and user fairness. We formulate an optimization problem to derive the optimal policy for the power allocation. Our insights from the optimal policies allow us to simplify DenseVLC's system design and propose a heuristic algorithm that can reduce the complexity by 99.96%. Besides, we propose a novel synchronization method using non-line-of-sight VLC to synchronize all the transmitters that will form a beamspot to serve the same receiver. We implement DenseVLC with off-the-shelf devices, solve practical challenges in the system design, and evaluate it with extensive and realistic experiments in a system of 36 transmitters and 4 receivers in an area of 3mX3m. Our results show that DenseVLC can improve the average system throughput by 45%, or improve the average power efficiency by 2.3 times, while maintaining the requirement for uniform illumination. Finally, we demonstrate that DenseVLC is robust against blockage.