While it may not seem like it, more than 70% of our planet’s surface is oceanic. This means that most of Earth’s life and most of Earth’s minerals are located underwater. However, since most of our oceans are unexplored and unmapped, we don’t really how much life is really down there. This is true to such an extent that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the surface of our ocean floors. What this does mean is that there is a huge amount of potential in regards to material wealth in the sea, and this has resulted in huge advances in underwater technology as more and more people aim to capitalize on our ocean’s untapped wealth.
Mapping the Ocean: Underwater Wireless Communication & Software-Defined Networking
One of the main advances in underwater technology, particularly in the last twenty years, is the development of underwater wireless communication (UWC). This has come as a result of the huge advances in the capabilities of Optical, Acoustic, and RF wireless carriers, which are used for underwater data transmission. In addition, the recent advent of the Internet of Underwater Things (IoUT) has had a huge impact on UWC as it has increased energy efficiency, data rates, and overall connectivity, and all of this will only improve with the introduction of G5 networks. This has all played a huge role in the development of our capabilities in water pollution observation, oil and gas exploration, naval security operations, and natural disaster surveillance. It has also been crucial in our abilities to observe marine life, a fact made clear by the most recent wildlife documentaries here in the States and over in the UK.
From these developments, it’s easy to see the potential for commercial and military applications when it comes to UWC.
Another way we explore the ocean is by using Underwater Acoustic Sensor Networks (UASN). However, it has become apparent in recent years that these networks are not efficiently equipped for the huge tasks they are built for. The reason it has become apparent is that we have developed much more efficient networks in the last twenty years, ones that rely on software rather than hardware. See the issue with UASN’s is that they rely on hardware infrastructure that has poor flexibility and versatility, which often leads to signal interference. Software-Defined Networks (SDN) on the other hand are much more flexible and reliable, and their use has to lead to massive leaps in ocean exploration in the last few years.
How have these Advances Affected us?
So, how has all this affected us – the general public? While we’ve mentioned better quality wildlife documentaries, there’s actually a lot of ways in which these advances have directly affected our lives at home. For instance, while SDN’s are being more frequently used now, this is only a recent development. For a very long time, we have been hyper-focused on improving underwater hardware for our communication. In the same way that advances in space exploration resulted in improvements in home appliances, these advances in underwater hardware technology have resulted in a number of improvements in the things we use in our own daily lives. For example, hoods for fish tanks are vastly superior in quality in comparison to 20 years ago. If you head over to https://inlandaquatics.com/best-aquarium-hoods you’ll get some great information on how they have improved. In addition to this, the technology used in home appliances like boilers and cookers has also benefited from our advances in underwater technology, though in a much more complicated way. While we can’t get into that now, just know that improvements in underwater technology will continue to improve our lives whether we know it or not.