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Living in the '90s? So Are ­nderwater Wireless Networks


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State University of New York at Buffalo students working on underwater wireless technology at Lake Erie, just south of Buffalo, NY.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalow are working to significantly speed up underwater wireless communications.

Credit: UB NewsCenter

The speed of today's underwater communication networks is comparable to the sluggish dial-up modems from 1990s, but State University of New York at Buffalo researchers are working to change that.

The team is developing hardware and software, including modems that work under water and open architecture protocols, to enable underwater telecommunications to catch up to land-based wireless communications.

Land-based networks rely on radio waves, which do not work well underwater. Sound waves are the best alternative, but they encounter such obstacles as path loss, delay, and Doppler shift, which limit their ability to transmit.

The architecture of underwater systems also hinders communication.

The team is working to merge a relatively new communication platform, software-defined radio, with underwater acoustic modems, and they say this approach would boost underwater data transmission rates 10 times over today's commercial underwater modems.

The technology could have potential applications in monitoring pollution, military and law enforcement work, and in the scuba and energy industries.

From UB NewsCenter
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