Survey on Physical Layer Security in Optical Wireless Communication Systems

Mohanad Obeed, Anas M. Salhab, Mohamed Slim Alouini, Salam A. Zummo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

22 Scopus citations


As the existing radio-frequency (RF) networks cannot meet the ever-increasing data rate demand, the optical wireless communication (OWC), which uses a wide untapped unregulated spectrum, has been proposed as a promising technology to overcome the RF spectrum limitations. On the other hand, with the increasing demand for high data rate and the prevalence of the broadcast-nature networks, researchers have recently come up with new mechanisms to improve secure communication using physical layer techniques. Compared to RF networks, the OWC networks are more secure and less susceptible to the interception because of the small coverage provided by LEDs, and because they work properly only in the presence of the line-of-sight (LoS) components. However, the security in OWC networks is still an issue, especially in visible light communication (VLC) when the transmitted information can be accessed by multiple users as in public areas, meeting rooms, laboratories, and libraries. That means potential eavesdroppers may be existing to gather confidential messages. This paper reviews all the conducted work on physical layer security (PLS) in two types of OWC networks, which are the VLC and free space optical (FSO) networks. Furthermore, the paper proposes several open problems in these networks to optimize and enhance the security performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComnet 2018 - 7th International Conference on Communications and Networking
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538656518
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameComnet 2018 - 7th International Conference on Communications and Networking

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IEEE.


  • Physical layer security
  • free space optical communication
  • visible light communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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