Technology 3 min read

Researchers Develop Underwater WiFi Using LEDs and Lasers

metamorworks / Shutterstock.com

metamorworks / Shutterstock.com

A team of researchers from Saudi Arabia has developed an underwater WiFi system, called Aqua-Fi, that supports internet services.

The internet is an indispensable communication tool.

Today, almost 4.47 billion people — 59 percent of the global population — are active internet users. Some might even argue that internet access has become a fundamental human right.

Unfortunately, we’ve always struggled to connect to the web from underwater. But, why would anyone want to access Facebook from under the sea?

For a while now, industries and researchers have been monitoring and exploring underwater environments. And these divers use wireless internet underwater to communicate and send live data to the surface.

The conventional underwater communication relies on radio, acoustic, and visible light signals. Unfortunately, they’re still far from perfect.

For example, the radio can only carry data over short distances. Meanwhile, acoustic signals support long distances, its data rate is relatively limited.

Visible light doesn’t have any of these two issues — it can travel a long distance and carry lots of data. But, it also uses a narrow light beam that requires a direct line of sight between transmitters and receivers.

To address these shortcomings, a team of researchers created an underwater WiFi system called Aqua-Fi. It uses LEDs and lasers to send multimedia messages from an underwater environment.

In a statement about the project, the first author of the study, Basem Shihada said:

“We have created a relatively cheap and flexible way to connect underwater environments to the global internet. We hope that one day, Aqua-Fi will be as widely used underwater as WiFi is above water.”

The researcher described their underwater wireless system in their published paper.

Developing an Underwater WiFi System Using LEDs and Lasers

The Aqua-Fi prototype sends multimedia from a small computer to a light detector connected to another system using green LEDs or a 520-nanometer laser.

The first computer converts the multimedia data such as photos and videos into a series of 1s and 0s. These are, in turn, translated into beams that turn on and off at a very high speed.

Upon sensing this variation, the light detector converts the beam back into 1s and 0s. Then, the receiving computer turns the binary figures back into the original footage.

In their test, the researchers set the two computers a few meters apart in static water. Next, they simultaneously uploaded and downloaded multimedia data between the systems.

They were able to record a transfer speed of up to 2.11 megabytes per second and an average delay of 1.00 millisecond for a round trip.

In a real-world application, Aqua-Fi would send data from a diver’s smartphone to a gateway device using radio waves. After that, the gateway device will send the data via a light beam to an internet-ready surface computer.

With that said, the researchers still need to overcome several obstacles before Aqua-Fi can be available. These include improving the link quality as well as the transmission range.

Read More: The Evolution of Internet Over the Last Decade

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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    Ida Wallace June 30 at 11:55 am GMT

    Informative blog I found and read from this website which is about researchers develop underwater Wi Fi using LEDs and lasers.
    Ida Wallace

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