Wireless communication in data centers: A survey

Abdelbaset S. Hamza, Jitender S. Deogun, Dennis R. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Data centers (DCs) is becoming increasingly an integral part of the computing infrastructures of most enterprises. Therefore, the concept of DC networks (DCNs) is receiving an increased attention in the network research community. Most DCNs deployed today can be classified as wired DCNs as copper and optical fiber cables are used for intra- and inter-rack connections in the network. Despite recent advances, wired DCNs face two inevitable problems; cabling complexity and hotspots. To address these problems, recent research works suggest the incorporation of wireless communication technology into DCNs. Wireless links can be used to either augment conventional wired DCNs, or to realize a pure wireless DCN. As the design spectrum of DCs broadens, so does the need for a clear classification to differentiate various design options. In this paper, we analyze the free space optical (FSO) communication and the 60 GHz radio frequency (RF), the two key candidate technologies for implementing wireless links in DCNs. We present a generic classification scheme that can be used to classify current and future DCNs based on the communication technology used in the network. The proposed classification is then used to review and summarize major research in this area. We also discuss open questions and future research directions in the area of wireless DCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7393451
Pages (from-to)1572-1595
Number of pages24
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • 60 GHz
  • Wireless data centers
  • data center network
  • data centers
  • free space optical (FSO)
  • optical wireless communication (OWC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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