Underwater Electromagnetic Sensor Networks-Part I: Link Characterization

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Jan 19;17(1):189. doi: 10.3390/s17010189.


Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks (UWSNs) using electromagnetic (EM) technology in marine shallow waters are examined, not just for environmental monitoring but for further interesting applications. Particularly, the use of EM waves is reconsidered in shallow waters due to the benefits offered in this context, where acoustic and optical technologies have serious disadvantages. Sea water scenario is a harsh environment for radiocommunications, and there is no standard model for the underwater EM channel. The high conductivity of sea water, the effect of seabed and the surface make the behaviour of the channel hard to predict. This justifies the need of link characterization as the first step to approach the development of EM underwater sensor networks. To obtain a reliable link model, measurements and simulations are required. The measuring setup for this purpose is explained and described, as well as the procedures used. Several antennas have been designed and tested in low frequency bands. Agreement between attenuation measurements and simulations at different distances was analysed and made possible the validation of simulation setups and the design of different communications layers of the system. This leads to the second step of this work, where data and routing protocols for the sensor network are examined.

Keywords: antennas; electromagnetic; measurements; sea water; simulations; testbed; underwater wireless sensor networks (UWSNs).