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Threat of Low-Cost Jammers: The effects on Visible Light Communication Systems

Annika Tjabben; Marjan Noushinfar; Jan Herbst; Matthias Rüb; Christoph Lipps; Hans Dieter Schotten
In: 27. ITG Fachtagung Mobilkommunikation. VDE/ITG Fachtagung Mobilkommunikation (MKT), May 10-11, Osnabrück, Germany, ITG, 5/2023.


As both, fast as well as secure data transmission are key design criteria with the evolution of future network technologies, Visible Light Communication (VLC) is considered as one of the key enabling technologies in the development of Sixth-Generation (6G) wireless systems. Due to the physical properties of Visible Light, communication in these frequency spectra is considered to have several security advantages, still, there is a lack of explicit research on real-world VLC setups testing certain attack vectors. Therefore this work addresses security issues arising from jamming attacks in VLC systems. Various experimental VLC setups are compared with respect to their structures and data rates while particular attention is given to the promising experimental "OpenVLC" setup. To perform real-life measurements OpenVLC boards were recreated. Modifications in particular to the board design and hardware components were performed. To estimate circumstances with the highest data-rate performance, the system is evaluated for different distances and light conditions, for instance, brightness influences through daylight or artificial illumination. Using a low-budget jamming setup, various frequencies of jamming are evaluated on the modified OpenVLC system regarding different environmental conditions. In all cases, data transmission could be interrupted until a complete communication failure occurs. Therefore it was shown that current experimental VLC systems can be easily attacked with a simple jamming system on low frequencies.