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Recent Trends in Underwater Acoustic Communications

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Advances in underwater acoustic communications technology are being enabled by more access to in-water data and an infusion of new techniques, researchers, and students. In-water data collection is being made possible by robust funding in the United States, the European Union, and other countries, typically to multiorganization consortia working on both physical and network layer research. At the physical layer, single and multicarrier modulation methods continue to be refined, with a focus on both low signal-to-noise ratio, low-rate and high signal-to-noise ratio, high-rate data links. Establishment of performance metrics for adaptive equalizers and other parts of the physical layer continue, and recent work on high-fidelity channel models that mimic the effects of small-scale ocean processes indicates that progress is being made.

Research in undersea acoustic networks continues to gain momentum as well, with multiple options available for integrating acoustic propagation models with network simulation, providing common frameworks for basing network design. The combination of these recent advances, plus continued interest by maritime science and industry in wireless communications, means that the field is poised to make new commercial breakthroughs in the next several years.

Document Type: Commentary


Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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