Underwater Wi-Fi, World 1st Laser-Based From KAUST!


Underwater Wi-Fi

A laser-based underwater Wi-Fi which promises a new dimension of wireless data accessibility different from its traditional medium has just emerged from a team of researchers. However, these researchers from the Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have successfully developed a two-way wireless data connection for underwater use. While it’s obvious developing a high-speed wireless connection via a medium like water would incur a lot of challenges, when compared with the strength of our daily wireless data connections we are used to.

This could certainly be a game changer for underwater data centers as this would practically breach the barriers of connecting surface network infrastructure with sub-sea data centers. According to reports, these researchers deployed simple and readily available components which include a Raspberry Pi used in place of a modem, while in a bid to make sure that the sub-sea Wi-Fi is easily connected, consistent and reliable to connect into the larger global internet, these researchers made sure it was compatibly built with existing 802.11 wireless standards.

To prove how the Wi-Fi’s signal is processed, the Raspberry Pi provides the compute needed for the conversion of standard wireless signal into one that is transmitted optically through laser.  The signal which is brought over the air to a buoy at the surface of the sea where the Pi effects the conversion, which in turn, transmits the signal via blue and green lasers, and then beam it down to an optical receiver located underwater and at a maximum practical transfer speed of 2.11 Mbps across a distance of 20 meters. With this analogy, it’s evident the laser-based underwater Wi-Fi is structured with few signal conversions. 

Despite this breakthrough, there seems to be a huge problem with this Aqua-Fi networking tech, and that has to do with dealing with the optical variation that could emerge due to ocean currents and water movement at underwater. Though these team of researchers did actually manage to do Skype calls coupled with back and forth movement of files.

In a bid to curtail these limitations, efforts has been put in place by the team, and this include a two-laser system that will see a low-powered one deployed for the more powerful data connection, should connection fail? It will readjust orientation. While another option that could prove helpful is to broaden the receiver with a number of multiple receivers.

What is your take on this developed laser-based underwater Wi-Fi?