Enabling Access and Topology Optimization of Underwater Networks through an Aerial Vehicle

Recent years have witnessed an increased interest in the applications of underwater acoustic networks (UANs). In existing solutions, floating nodes are consistently used to interface the UAN through radio links to non-sea based units and to correlate the node positions to a global coordinate system. However, such an approach could be impractical for extended missions, ineffective for rapid response scenarios, and/or undesirable for covert operations. Moreover, little attention has been paid to mitigating frequent breaks in UAN connectivity due to node drifts and time varying property of the underwater environment. To address these issues, this proposal promotes the development of innovative communication mechanisms for interfacing UANs directly to an aerial mobile unit (AMU) without the need of floating nodes. The proposed research opts to develop a suite of protocols enabling full duplex communication between UANs and AMUs. These protocols are then leveraged to extend the global coordinate system in the underwater environment to aid in localization and topology management.  

The specific technical goals are: (1) Develop protocols for reliable bidirectional communication between the UAN and an AMU. We are pursuing two options. The first is based on free-space optics. The second utilizes the optoacoustic effect to create a downlink where a controlled laser beam is directed toward the water surface to generate an underwater acoustic signal. The uplink, on the other hand, is established by means of a coherent laser that will detect impinging and protrusion caused by an incident acoustic transmission from an underwater node onto the water surface; (2) Develop encoding methods for forming reliable optoacoustic downlinks where laser properties are controlled by the AMU to generate a modulated signal in the underwear environment; (3) Develop a network discovery and localization protocol through encoded optoacoustic transmissions to generate reference points on the water surface linked to a global coordinate system; (4) Develop topology management protocols that enable re-establishing broken acoustic links with a node or an isolated block of nodes with the aid of the AMU.

National Science Foundation

Faculty PhD. Students
  • Md. Shafiqul Islam
  • Muntsir Mahmud
  • Jaeed Bin Saif
Graduated Students
  • Dr. Akram Ahmed (PhD'19)
  • Mr. Pratik Mathur (MS'20)
  • Mr. Narasimha Enukonda (MS'21)
Recent Journal Papers
  1. A. Ahmed, and M. Younis, "Acoustic Beam Characterization and Selection for Optimized Underwater Communication," Applied Science, Vol. 9, No. 13, pp. 2740, 2019.
  2. M. S. Islam and M. Younis, "Visible Light Communication through Air Water Interface," IEEE Access, Vol. 7, pp. 123830 - 123845, August 2019.
Recent Conference Papers
  1. A. B. Riaz Ahmed, M. Younis, M. Hernandez De Leon, "Machine Learning Based Sound Speed Prediction for Underwater Networking Applications," in the Proceedings of the 5th IEEE International Workshop on Wireless Communications and Networking in Extreme Environments (WCNEE'21), July 2021.
  2. M. S. Islam, M. Younis, M. Mahmud, and J. Bin-Saif "A Novel Encoding Scheme for Improving the Bandwidth Efficiency of DPPM," in the Proceedings of the IEEE Communications Conference (ICC 2021), Montreal, Canada, June 2021.
  3. M. S. Islam, M. Younis, and F.-S. Choa "Optimizing Acoustic Signal Quality for Linear Optoacoustic Communication," in the Proceedings of the IEEE Communications Conference (ICC 2021), Montreal, Canada, June 2021.
  4. M. S. Islam, and M. Younis, "An Adaptive DPPM for Efficient and Robust Visible Light Communication Across the Air-Water Interface," in the Proceedings of the 29th Wireless and Optical Communications Conference (WOCC 2020), Newark, New Jersey, May 2020.