Optical EngineeringUnderwater optical wireless communication network
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The growing need for underwater observation and subsea monitoring systems has stimulated considerable interest in advancing the enabling technologies of underwater wireless communication and underwater sensor networks. This communication technology is expected to play an important role in investigating climate change, in monitoring biological, biogeochemical, evolutionary, and ecological changes in the sea, ocean, and lake environments, and in helping to control and maintain oil production facilities and harbors using unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), submarines, ships, buoys, and divers. However, the present technology of underwater acoustic communication cannot provide the high data rate required to investigate and monitor these environments and facilities. Optical wireless communication has been proposed as the best alternative to meet this challenge. Models are presented for three kinds of optical wireless communication links: (a) a line-of-sight link, (b) a modulating retroreflector link, and (c) a reflective link, all of which can provide the required data rate. We analyze the link performance based on these models. From the analysis, it is clear that as the water absorption increases, the communication performance decreases dramatically for the three link types. However, by using the scattered light it was possible to mitigate this decrease in some cases. It is concluded from the analysis that a high-data-rate underwater optical wireless network is a feasible solution for emerging applications such as UUV-to-UUV links and networks of sensors, and extended ranges in these applications could be achieved by applying a multi-hop concept.