Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Abdallah Khreishah

Second Advisor

Nirwan Ansari

Third Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Fourth Advisor

Edwin Hou

Fifth Advisor

Moussa Ayyash


The emergence of new physical media such as optical wireless, and the ability to aggregate these new media with legacy networks motivate the study of heterogeneous network performance, especially with respect to the design of protocols to best exploit the characteristics of each medium.

This study considers Visible Light Communications (VLC), which is expected to coexist with legacy and future radio frequency (RF) media. While most of the research on VLC has been done on optimizing the physical medium, research on higher network layers is only beginning to gain attention, requiring new analyses and tools for performance analysis.

The first part of the dissertation concerns with developing a new ns3-based VLC module that can be used to study VLC-RF heterogeneous networks via simulation. The proposed ns3 module is developed based on existing models for intensity modulated LED signals operating as lighting units transmitting to optical receivers at indoor scales (meters). These models and the corresponding simulation model are validated using a testbed implemented with a software-defined radio (SDR) system, photodetector, phosphor-converted “white” LEDs, and under PSK and QAM modulation. Two scenarios are used in the validation of the VLC module: (i) using a receiver placed right bellow the transmitter with varying range, and (ii) using a receiver with a fixed range and varying angle of acceptance. Results indicate good correspondence between the simulated and actual testbed performance. Subsequently, it demonstrates how the VLC module can be used to predict the performance of a hybrid WiFi/VLC network simulated using the ns3 environment with UDP, TCP, and combined network traffic.

The second part of the dissertation focuses on modeling interference at VLC system level based on variable pulse position modulation (VPPM) and variable on-off keying (VOOK) which are used in VLC to simultaneously provide lighting with dimming control as well as communication. The bit error performance of these modulation schemes is evaluated at VLC systems consisting of multiple transmitters-receivers pairs, where co-channels interference exists. The BER is derived by providing an in depth analysis that captures the signal structure of the interference in terms of the number of transmitters. This work dispenses with the Gaussian interference model which is not suitable when the number of interferers are few and the central limit theorem (CLT) cannot be applied. The result shows that under realistic small-room scenario, the analytical results closely match with that of simulation.