KORUZA wireless optical communication system has been granted NGI Pointer funding

Institute IRNAS
6 min readFeb 3, 2021


We are happy to announce, our wireless optical communication system for urban environments KORUZA has been granted funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme within the framework of the NGI Pointer project.

Thanks to NGI Pointer, who we have been recognized as Next Generation Internet (NGI) Architects by, we will be able to develop KORUZA for the next 12 months. We are looking forward to the mentorship!

KORUZA wireless optical communication system

KORUZA is a wireless optical communication system for urban environments, based on FSO (Free Space Optical) technology, designed for last-mile, 5G and IoT applications. It uses an eye-safe collimated beam of IR light for point-to-point data transmission through air. The solution avoids digging up roads, allowing distances up to 150 m with fibre-like speeds (1–10 Gbps).

By utilizing mass-produced parts and open-source standards, KORUZA differentiates itself from the competition by dramatically reducing costs, coming at €10/meter, which is 10x cheaper than other FSO and fibre-based solutions. The low latency and jitter makes it suitable for 5G networks, last mile networking, front and back-haul applications.


Despite increasing needs for connectivity, the supply of reliable and affordable high-speed connectivity isn’t following the rising demands with the same speed. As recognized by the European Commission, Europe is lagging behind in achieving the connectivity goals set for 2025: at least 100 Mbps connectivity access for all European households, 1 Gbps connectivity at all schools, transport hubs and main providers of public services, uninterrupted 5G wireless broadband coverage for all urban areas, major roads and railways.

Our experience with internet service providers allowed us to identify three main problems for providing fast connectivity to end users:

  1. high costs of hardware,
  2. complex installation procedures and
  3. technology un-readiness for 5G demands.

Likewise, the internet infrastructure follows the same centralized system since the time of initial deployments. With KORUZA, we are enabling the last-mile infrastructure to be rolled out in an organic mesh network infrastructure.


To meet the ubiquitous 2025 EU connectivity goals and increasing market demands, new network architectures, utilising seamless integration of wired infrastructure with licensed and unlicensed bands, are needed. While fibre optics represents the most optimal choice for backbone connectivity, it fails to provide cost-effectiveness in all use-cases due to slow roll-out and predicted major network densification.

A cost-effective FSO solution, such as the KORUZA system, providing sufficient connection range for small-cell usage and last-mile connectivity, could effectively complement fibre optics backbones. The most important ambition of the project is to demonstrate alternative network structures, such as full mesh networks between end customers as an alternative to traditional star type networks.

Expected impact

KORUZA offers a solution for situations where affordable, reliable and fast-deployed connections are needed. It will primarily benefit the telecommunication sector, but with its modular architecture design and open principles it can also provide an alternative internet access infrastructure in the industrial sector, transportation and logistics centres for management of communication between harbour cranes, trains and similar. The technology is not affected by radio frequency interference or band over-crowdedness, as it is also immune to electromagnetic interferences.

With the 5G network evolution and predicted range of applications where very low latency and reliable, high data rates are crucial (assisted driving, health applications), KORUZA provides a viable option for network densification, outperforming all other wireless solutions in terms of latency, reliability and data rates. Due to the performance, network solutions built on top of it can be envisioned in various forms.

Open-source contributions

KORUZA is changing the paradigm of physical layer networking technologies, as well as introducing the wireless optical technology to the broader audience. The unique opportunity here is that this technology is a leading example of ‘open at its core’ for the greater market and, unlike other last-mile technologies, it is wieldy accessible.

KORUZA has started as an open-source project in 2014 and has since grown into a more industrialized solution, used as a research and testing baseline for a large number of organizations on the market using it.

As a fully open-source networking product available on the market, this is the present vision and effort.

Standardization and roll-out

An affordable free-space-optical system, which does not require long, expensive and inconvenient procedures of trenching and permits-obtaining, is one of the alternatives for fast roll-out of the high-speed network up to the end users. KORUZA allows bidirectional communication between units up to 150 meters, while eliminating radio spectrum congestion.

Roll-out potential with the growing demand of the internet capacity is estimated at up to 10 % of all last-mile connections globally. A more immediate goal is the demonstrate its use in last-mile backhaul for 5G networks that will most rapidly require the capacity.

As of this moment, there is no wireless optical technology standardization as the market is too small, however we aim to start the process and lead an interest group as the traction grows. The KORUZA project was granted the “Seal of excellence” and was in the past supported by Shuttleworth Foundation.

Technical Approach

KORUZA is the first open-source 1 and 10 Gbps wireless optical system generally available on the market. The key innovation is the reuse of standard fibre optic components like SFP modules for a wireless optical application, creating an eye-safe IR beam between two units. The system has been designed with optical link margin of 20 dB, enabling continuous operation in all weather conditions at distances of 150 m.

The Internet Architecture addressed by KORUZA is at the lowest level in Layer 1 networking, providing a novel link layer which is best combined with mesh routing protocols and other technologies for data communication in non-star networks.

The project innovation is providing a networking solution that is open at its core and as such generally available for implementation by various parties. Moreover, the system enables the construction of novel infrastructure concepts and changing the paradigm shift with rather traditional ISPs.

Thank you, NGI Pointer

We would hereby like to thank NGI Pointer for recognizing the potential of KORUZA wireless optical communication system, and for giving us the opportunity to offer an upgrade of the existing solution earlier.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme within the framework of the NGI-POINTER Project funded under grant agreement No 871528.



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