The Internet may be global, and we may call what we see in our browsers the world wide web, but about 70 percent of the world doesn't have Internet access -- the part that's covered by water.
Researchers at SUNY–Buffalo led by electrical engineering professor Tommaso Melodia are trying to change that. They have proposed an undersea Internet, which will be compatible with all land-based networks and underwater sensors.
Bodies of water make wireless Internet connectivity and transmission difficult. On land, we use radio waves, antennae, and satellites. However, these radio waves work poorly underwater, where communications primarily rely on sound waves -- which can be converted to radio waves via surface buoys for back-to-land transmissions. This is where it gets tricky. Acoustic waves are much slower than radio waves, and infrastructural differences make it difficult for different acoustic-based underwater systems to share data. What's more, according to Melodia's paper, "as of today existing underwater acoustic sensor network[s]... cannot be reconfigured or reprogrammed once the modems have been deployed."
The framework his team is implementing seeks to solve these problems by transmitting data quickly between underwater sensors and landlubbing networks -- while streamlining deep-sea data transmissions by making duplicative deployments redundant. The system is compatible with both IPv4 and IPv6, and it takes advantage of wireless mesh routing. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, Melodia's team was able to plug the modems into a Gumstix Linux board and reprogram them to communicate in a specially rewritten aquatic version of the standard Internet networking protocol, TCP/IP.
"A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time," Melodia said in a SUNY-Buffalo press release. "Making this information available to anyone with a smartphone or computer, especially when a tsunami or other type of disaster occurs, could help save lives."
There are yet more applications for a deep-sea Internet -- and they're not limited to getting a better signal from the cruise ship cabin. They include:
Monitoring water pollution and other oceanographic data
Detecting and aggregating seismic wave data to find oil and natural gas
Tracking marine life to protect it against shipping traffic and other human-caused dangers
Spotting undersea drug smuggling and other criminal activity
The speeds remain relatively slow and bandwidth remains low for the Melodia team's solution (video streaming certainly wouldn't be a viable option at this point), but it would work just fine for sending out basic emergency notifications to land-based devices in a reasonably timely fashion.
Melodia's next step? A faster, higher-frequency version of his deep-water modem. In addition to solving the problem of speed, it would have less impact on marine life (low-frequency sound waves, of course, being audible). "Much of our ongoing research in this field is trying to lay the basis for faster, more reliable, and secure… networks," he told Wired.
If Melodia can make his ultimate vision a reality, then it would seem -- ironically -- that the sky is the limit for broadening worldwide communications.
Susan, much of the attention is in the skies these days. People talk about air traffic, air pollution and air transportation. Sea looks as if it is the thing of the past. Although man should remember that our best source of life comes from that part i.e. the seas / rivers.
It could raise awareness but considering that these would largely be research jobs it will take years for any data to be released. Now if we could get live cameras like the zoo panda cams then I could see a sparked interest. We havent' had a Jacques Cousteau for some time now but when we had a leaking oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico the live camera streams were struggling to keep up with the traffic. People are interested if you can show them something interesting and this might be a stepping stone to generating interest.
@SaneIT: Well, maybe this will be a good thing; we'll put sensors on fish to monitor the access points, and those sensors will report back live images of the giant trash island in the ocean and raise awareness for everyone...
@Waqas: yes, there's not much media attention paid to the situation in our oceans with over-fishing, traffic and pollution. It is a serious economic and food chain matter and particularly harmful for small local fisheries around the world.
They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, well fish can't open helpdesk tickets or call in reports of trash floating near an access point. We've got a bit of an out of sight out of mind attitude with ocean going trash.
Susan, if they launch a protest while attacking the marine vessels then we can have an underwater world war 1. Was saying sarcastically but unfortunately if someone tries to attack men, they will use all sorts of weapons to destroy the opponent even if it means destroying their own food supply.
The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail: [email protected]iciency.com
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise. Read the full report
Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.