Articles

New Digital Technology for Wireless Underwater Communications

Solutions can be developed, at a lower cost, for applications such as monitoring climate change, detecting oil spills and communicating with divers.

by / October 11, 2007
Diver Wireless
The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) has developed a brand-new technology for underwater communications. With this new technology, information can be transmitted digitally over a wireless network. With FOI's technology, faster and more reliably solutions can be developed, and at a lower cost, for applications such as monitoring climate change, detecting oil spills and communicating with divers.

FOI's research on underwater communications was initially conducted for military purposes. Today, there are several driving forces behind research in this field. Now, wireless connections in water can also be used in civilian applications.
"In a research project, sponsored by the EU, an infrastructure of sensors is built at the sea floor," Erland Sangfelt, underwater expert at FOI, explains. "The object is to monitor environmental changes in the sea, receive advance warnings of earthquakes, follow underwater weather patterns and especially explore for oil and gas. Wireless communications has played an important role in these research areas."

Up to now, echoes have created problems in underwater communications. These echoes, which can be compared to an echo in a cathedral, have limited the data rate in underwater transmission. Researchers at FOI now have developed the technology further and discovered a way to reduce the effects of echoes. The research results are not secret and the technology could be employed already today.

"Here is a good chance for Swedish industry to utilize this technology in various products," Tommy