On the Feasibility of GPON Fiber Light Energy Harvesting for the Internet of Things

João Carlos Casaleiro, Carlos Ferreira Carvalho, Pedro Viçoso Fazenda, Rui Policarpo Duarte


The emerging concept of smart cities demands for a large number of electronic devices, like sensors and actuators, distributed over several public spaces and buildings. The Internet of Things (IoT) has a key role in connecting devices to the Internet. However, the significant number of devices makes the maintenance task of the entire network difficult and expensive. To mitigate this problem, considerable research efforts have been made to develop energy-aware devices capable of self-sustainable operation, by harvesting their energy from various sources. In this paper, we study the possibility of harvesting energy from the light flowing in the Gigabit Passive Optics Network (GPON) to supply low-power devices. Since most cities already have a working GPON installation, using this installation to interconnect and power IoT devices can be a viable and less expensive solution, instead of installing new dedicated networks. This is also an interesting solution to convey communications and energy to low-power applications where access to the power grid is unfeasible. This study is focused in the 1550 nm wavelength, whose available optical power, in residential premises, is between -7 dBm and +2 dBm. With this range of optical power, and with a 30% efficiency photodiode, we show, for the worst-case scenario of the GPON, how it is possible to harvest 62 µW of energy at the Maximum Power Point (MPP).


Energy harvesting; photodiode, optical fiber; GPON; IoT, wireless sensor networks; smart cities.

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