Li-Fi and TSN enable wireless real-time deterministic data transmission

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The Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) has combined Li-Fi and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) to enable real-time deterministic data transmission wirelessly.

In automated industrial settings, high bandwidth and guaranteed cycle times of less than one millisecond are required. It is also important to have time-critical and prioritised control of the data streams. TSN offers this through extending existing Ethernet standards by deterministic and real-time data transmission through a common network.

"Li-Fi is a technology for wireless data transmission by means of light and offers the possibility to realise transmission times in the microsecond range. In addition, the data connection with Li-Fi is reliable and offers consistent quality," explained Dr. Alexander Noack, head of development at Fraunhofer IPMS. "Li-Fi is therefore an ideal medium for real-time and deterministic wireless data communication. In this way, Time Sensitive Networking can also be implemented without cables."

He continued, "Until now, real-time data transmission for TSN was wired. However, radio transmission would be an alternative, but there are clear limits. With today's radio standards such as 4G, LTE, W-LAN or the future 5G radio standard, required latency times from automation in the microsecond range cannot be achieved. The Fraunhofer IPMS therefore integrates TSN into a Li-Fi hotspot."

The institute explains that existing real-time transmission via cable techniques are carried out using special fieldbus systems, which is unsuitable for mobile applications such as industrial robots or dynamic manufacturing cells.