LiFi through reconfigurable intelligent surfaces : a new frontier for 6G?

Abumarshoud, Hanaa and Mohjazi, Lina and Dobre, Octavia A. and Di Renzo, Marco and Imran, Muhammad Ali and Haas, Harald (2021) LiFi through reconfigurable intelligent surfaces : a new frontier for 6G? IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine. pp. 2-11. ISSN 1556-6072 (

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Light fidelity (LiFi), which is based on visible light communications (VLC), is celebrated as a cutting-edge technological paradigm that is envisioned to be an indispensable part of 6G systems. Nonetheless, LiFi performance is subject to efficiently overcoming the line-of-sight blockage, whose adverse effect on the reliability of wireless reception becomes even more pronounced in highly dynamic environments, such as vehicular applications. Meanwhile, reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) emerged recently as a revolutionary concept that transforms the physical propagation environment into a fully controllable and customisable space in a low-cost low-power fashion. We anticipate that the integration of RISs in LiFienabled networks will not only support blockage mitigation but will also provision complex interactions among network entities, and is hence manifested as a promising platform that enables a plethora of technological trends and new applications. In this article, for the first time in the open literature, we set the scene for a holistic overview of RIS-assisted LiFi systems. Specifically, we explore the underlying RIS architecture from the perspective of physics and present a forward-looking vision that outlines potential operational elements supported by RISenabled transceivers and RIS-enabled environments. Finally, we highlight major associated challenges and offer a look ahead toward promising future directions.