Researchers test laser-based undersea Wi-Fi system « Naijatechnews

Researchers test laser-based undersea Wi-Fi system

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The team used a Raspberry Pi computer as a underwater modem by sending wireless signal using a waterproof smartphone. The Raspberry Pi attached to the underwater gear converted the wireless signal into laser beams, and then transmitted that data to a computer connected to the internet via satellite.

A group of researchers in Saudi Arabia claimed to have made Skype calls and transferred multimedia files using their newly developed underwater Wi-Fi system.

The team from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia developed the new system called Aqua-Fi using a combination of lasers and off-the-shelf components, the University said in a blog post.

Researchers working out of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have developed a laser-based two-way wireless data connection for use underwater.

The team used a Raspberry Pi compatible with existing 802.11 wireless standards to acts as the modem. The signal comes in over the air to a buoy at the ocean’s surface, where the Pi converts and transmits the information via blue and green lasers to an optical receiver located underwater. The System achieved a maximum practical transfer speed of 2.11 Mbps across a distance of 20 meters.

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Using the system, the researchers were able to do Skype calls and move files back and forth, but they also burned out the Raspberry Pi using lasers that overwhelmed its capabilities. However, they explained that this can be resolved by swapping it for a dedicated optical modem.

 

KAUST researchers tested their underwater wireless system by making internet calls and transferring data at 2.11 MBPS over 20 metres.

The team used a Raspberry Pi computer as a underwater modem by sending wireless signal using a waterproof smartphone. The Raspberry Pi attached to the underwater gear converted the wireless signal into laser beams, and then transmitted that data to a computer connected to the internet via satellite.

 

The new underwater wireless system research began three years ago when the KAUST team used laser beam to transfer a data file underwater.

The team claims the wireless system to be IEEE802.11 wireless standards compliant, a set of protocols for implementing wireless local area network. That means, it can establish a wireless connection between underwater devices, and function as part of the broader internet ecosystem.

The system is not ready for commercial use as the team is working on the drawbacks.

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“Laser alignment remains the most challenging part,” Baseem Shihada, one of the researchers of the project and an associate professor of computer science at KAUST, said.

The light beam needs to be aligned with the receiver in moving water for a successful data transfer. Lasers are precise, and even a mild turbulence in the waters can knock a beam off course and cause it to miss a receptor.

To solve the alignment problem, KAUST researcher are working on two possible solutions. In one, the team is planning to use a low and high laser system that can readjust connection when one of the two fails.

Another solution involves using an array of receptors, so that even if the laser emitter disturbed, the connection will be maintained.

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