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WaterCom - A Multilevel, Multipurpose Underwater Communications Test Platform


Underwater Communications is very much an experimental science because of the complex medium - the water - and its unpredictable propagation properties, thus mandating ex- periments to validate theory. The medium is particularly challenging for the transmission of acoustic and optical sig- nals. Thus, the true performance of a transmitter/receiver system can be evaluated only in the water. It would then appear that UW research be inevitably associated with a testbed. However, this is not always the case because UW testbeds are difficult to set up, calibrate and instrument. The purpose of the recent NSF CRI Ocean-TUNE project is precisely that of deploying inexpensive UW testbeds ac- cessible by the Community. UCLA, as a participant in the Ocean-TUNE project, has recognized that one UW testbed cannot fit all applications and therefore has been developing WaterCom, a multilevel testing platform consisting of three testbeds - small, medium and large scale. The small testbed is deployed in a tank, with two modems; it is used for point- to-point communications at close range. It is instrumented for remote access and allows the testing of variable TX power values with different obstacles, reflected rays absorption and water purity values (for optical experiments). The med- ium scale testbed, deployed at the Marina del Rey UCLA boathouse, will enable remotely monitored experiments of MAC and network protocols with three nodes, one of them mobile. The large scale open water testbed is deployed in the Catalina channel. It will employ OFDM Modems as well as small submersible, mobile platforms. WaterCom will enable two types of experiments: environment measurements, like subsurface currents, presence of deposits in the water, etc, and; network protocol and application measurements in the open water. The paper describes the testbeds in detail and introduces preliminary small scale testbed measurements.

Paper: PDF file of paper

Information & Date

WUWNet'15, Washington DC, October. 2015


Ciaran Mc Goldrick
Mark Matney
Enrique Segura
Youngtae Noh
Mario Gerla