Navy

Wavelength optimization for through-water wireless optical communication

The active system switches wavelengths in response to attenuation factors in the water

Communications Electronics

Navy personnel launch an autonomous underwater vehicle. (Blake Midnight/Navy)

Underwater wireless optical networks suffer from significant attenuation due to high absorption and scattering of the optical transmission in the water.

This limits the effective range of optical links and increases latency. But secure, wireless, high-data-rate transmission of information is becoming increasingly important for undersea applications that include defense, environmental monitoring, petroleum engineering, and unmanned underwater vehicle communications.

Given the high potential for attenuation due to turbidity and other interferences, wavelength optimization is critical to the achievement of effective, reliable underwater optical communication.

To address the above issues, Navy researchers have developed a spectroscopy system specific for optimizing underwater wireless optical communication networks. The system uses several beams of deferring wavelength and selects an optimal wavelength based on a comparison to a reference signal. The system is dynamic in that it can actively monitor attenuation and change wavelengths to accommodate losses. All system components are co-located.

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