October 16, 2013
Researchers at the University of Buffalo (UoB) have attached an array of scientific instruments to existing ocean buoys to monitor in real-time information on drug-smugglers, location of untapped oil reserves and predicting potential tsunamis with technology that can be accessed through a smartphone.
With use of a tsunami sensor bolted to the seafloor, sound waves could be intercepted to communicate with the surface buoy that can monitor possible giant waves in the ocean.
Those radio waves would be sent to a satellite and transferred to a land-based computer.
This Deep-Sea Underwater Wireless Internet (DSWI) will be “a submerged wireless network [that] will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time.”
Tommaso Melodia, electrical engineer at the UoB and lead author of the study said: “Better underwater networks make it possible to have more reliable, and even faster, communications from a tsunami detection system. Instead of having a tsunami detection system that is based on a single node, or a single device, you could have multiple devices that are trying to detect an event.”
To predict or plan for a tsunami those buoys and sensors can collect data independently that can be collaborated to create an accurate warning system that could save lives.
Melodia explained: “We are trying to make the networking protocols that are the basis of the Internet today compatible with the characteristics of underwater networks. In this way, we would be able to access an underwater sensor or some other underwater equipment … through a smartphone or through a laptop.”
Next month, the findings of Melodia’s team will be presented at the International Conference on Underwater Networks and Systems (ICUNS).
A network of 40-pound sensors was dropped into the ocean with laptops monitoring the information they sent back to the surface.
The intent of this technology is to have it firmly in place across the world’s oceans to facilitate internet communication with a wide array of implementations such as surveillance for climate science and petrol exploration along the seabed.
This new experimental technology is being watched by the US Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to use this system for underwater communication.
Back in March of this year, 3 persons were arrested in connection with conspiring to cut undersea cables connecting the internet to Alexandria, Egypt.
Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the Egyptian military explained that this conspiracy was discovered that would have effected internet service, reduced download speeds and pointed out the vulnerability of our modern dependence on the Web.
Ali said: “The marine forces today successfully foiled an attempt by three divers while they were cutting a submarine cable for internet connection belonging to Egypt Telecom.”
These cables are responsible for 75% of Web traffic from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the US. The cables to be compromised belonged to Telecom Egypt with a mainline feeding the whole of the Mediterranean.
In 2008, several internet cables were cut; as well as the same crime was committed last year which resulted in internet service being severed in Africa.
How much damage has occurred as not been assessed; however these cables transfer from 40gbps to 107gbps of data.
This incident was first reported by the Egyptian marine forces. In conjunction, Southern and Eastern Africa has reported internet outages. Seacom, the corporation that provides service to Africa said that SW4 cable system “suffered a cable cut off the coast of Egypt,” prompting the service disruption, but “all services on both SMW4 and IMEWE cable systems” have since been restored.
Most recently, Seacom has stated that this act is unlikely the cause of recent internet outages because “the specific location [of the affected cable], distance from shore, much greater depth, the presence of a large anchored vessel on the fault site which appears to be the cause of the damage, and other characteristics of the event. The final cause of the cable cut will be determined once the cable is repaired in the coming weeks and the damaged section is recovered from the seabed and inspected.”
Internet services in Pakistan have been affected.