S. Korea succeeds in testing full duplex underwater communication

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 18, 2018, 10:12 Updated : June 18, 2018, 10:12

[The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries]

SEOUL -- In a project to open a real-time underwater mobile communication network, South Korea has successfully tested a new system to receive and send text and photo images using a buoy and underwater sensors.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has led a joint project with civic and state organizations including top mobile carrier SK Telecom and the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute to develop technology for the world's first commercial underwater mobile communication network.

Unlike light waves and electromagnetic waves used for communication on land,  the bandwidths for underwater communication is very limited because signals get lost. It is also hard to direct signals as they bounce off the surface and the bottom.

In waters near the southern island of Koje, the ministry said it has successfully sent and received data over a 30-meter (98 feet) distance between a surface buoy and an underwater base station.

"We now have visualized the world's first base station-based underwater network and the commercialization of a full duplex communication modem," the ministry said in a statement.

Hydrophones, underwater microphones, and transducers which convert data into signals were used, the ministry said, adding it aims to establish a test bed for undersea communication networks by 2021.

"Because means of underwater communication is very limited, it is ideal to use multiple base stations to send data to a buoy on the surface," it said, adding data such as the salt concentration, temperature and ocean current can be collected real-time.
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