In today's subsea environments, continuous monitoring abilities and high data capacity communication systems are an imperative for infrastructure and operations in private sector businesses and defense. Umbilicals/wired cables have proven costly to place and maintain with ROVs. Acoustic technology is the most readily available, but can only provide data rates around 10 kbit/sec with ranges of approximately 1 km. High-speed wireless communication has proven elusive underwater due to the broadband absorption of all standard communication wavelengths.
No single wireless technology is currently available to create the backbone of a high-bandwidth, subsea communications system without sacrificing range and data rates.
Oceanit is developing ULTRA using point-to-point, tight-beam lasers to enable high-bandwidth wireless communications to create this backbone for a subsea internet of things. The system under development will offer gigabit bandwidth communications run through low-power sensor nodes, enable real-time monitoring of wide-band data, and eliminate the need for umbilicals anywhere within the system.
ULTRA will have a much longer range current laser and acoustic systems and is unaffected by acoustic noise environments.
ULTRA takes advantage of a distributed network of battery-powered nodes which communicate to a submerged hub before relaying signals to the surface or an AUV. Built from the ground up as a directional system, ULTRA will have embedded targeting and tracking capabilities. The distributed nodes will not utilize lasers, but rather modulating reflectors encode a signal on top of a beam sent from the hub.
The higher data rates made possible by the system will provide actionable information for multiple subsea use cases. ULTRA enables more efficient operations and situational awareness across a wide variety of subsea IoT devices.