back to article Screw Internet-of-Things: Boffins build Internet-of-Sound UNDERWATER

Scientists at the University of Buffalo (UB) have tested an underwater network that could make internet-like communications across the world's oceans a possibility. Electrical Engineering Graduate Students Hovannes Kulhandjian and Zahed Hossain of Tommaso Melodia’s WINES Lab Research on Lake Erie It's an MPAA takedown …


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  1. Knoydart

    Reminds me of a fish and chip shop back in Sheffield back in the late 90's which was called "in the net dot cod".

    Anyway surely the underwater internet should be called the interweb instead?

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      rerun of old software ?

      maybe a wet version of the old Aloha slow space comms stack ?

  2. Don Jefe


    Radio travels well enough through water. But only at ridiculously low frequencies that limit the amount of information one can transmit in a given period. I just felt that I should point that out.

    1. Quxy

      Re: Radio

      No kidding. I designed wildlife telemetry gear back in the 70s, and the best that we could do for fish (a common requirement) was HF frequencies that only worked when the fish were near the surface.

      More recently though, I put together a proof-of-concept system using audio-frequency OFDM modems, and we were able to get 14,400 baud TCP/IP over PPP for several km in the north Atlantic. That's certainly the tack the UB researchers are taking.

      However, given the attenuation issues we ran into, I suspect that the (~1 baud) submarine VLF folks aren't feeling threatened yet.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Radio

        Aren't many audio frequencies reflected by density changes in the water column such as thermoclines and haloclines thus limiting how deep signals can be transmitted?

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: Radio

      In sea water it is absorbed over roughly the space of one wavelength. Hence the need for low frequency, i.e. long wavelength - and therefore low bandwidth. Just about enough to give a nuclear sub the order to fire.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Radio

        Or more often, the order 'raise the antenna buoy so we can talk properly.'

  3. fortran

    Biologically compatible?

    Of course, the researchers have been testing this communication method with the various kinds of living entities who might be in the water at the same time, to see if this has an impact on their lives?

    1. Katie Saucey

      Re: Biologically compatible?

      "...researchers have been testing this communication method with the various kinds of living entities who might be in the water at the same time..."

      Pffft...Go home Greenpeace! Just joking, these were my exact thoughts as I read the article. I believe it's already well known certain military sonar can affect whales in some ways. But who knows? Maybe the whales will learn to understand the protocol and get jobs with the NSA.

      >icon because; won't someone think of the penguins!

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Biologically compatible?

        @Katie Saucey, don't worry, there are plenty around to think about the penguins: whales, sharks, dolphins to name a few ;-)

    2. proto-robbie

      Re: Biologically compatible?

      Not a jot, I suspect - these guys are techies. This should be mandated to have a range of no more than say a mile per link, otherwise having to relay at the surface.

      These are intelligent creatures down there, and we're going to give them non-stop tinnitus? Surely not? Surely??

      1. Woza

        Re: Biologically compatible?

        What would BLUE HADES think?

  4. Benito

    What happens when the dolphins decipher the tcpip traffic? They're supposed to be clever after all. Could we talk with them? Could we chat with them online?

    1. Gordon 10

      How do we know you're not a dolphin having a troll already?

      1. frank ly

        @Gordon 10

        See where he typed the word 'tcpip'. That is a dolphin click-sound word. He slipped up there and revealed his true nature.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What happens when the dolphins decipher the tcpip traffic? They're supposed to be clever after all. Could we talk with them? Could we chat with them online"

      No. AFAIK, dolphins use 802.11.

      1. Benito

        I thought we'd established the physical layer was sound. It wouldn't surprise me if they'd been using UDP at the network layer for some time. Maybe they even invented it...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "when the dolphins decipher the tcpip traffic"

      ...the first time they land on Twitter they'll go and jam the frequencies. All of 'em. Forever.

  5. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    So, in fact, they developed a modem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Modem

      note: "a paper titled The Internet Underwater: An IP-compatible Protocol Stack for Commercial Undersea Modems"

      I would guess, therefore, that they knew about modems already, and weren't reporting on modems.

      However, all this is just silly. The Octonauts seem to have radios that work just fine underwater, so all this sound-internet stuff is clearly unnecessary :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Modem

        The octonauts just this morning demonstrated a new, long range radio tracker on a turtle. I think they're stretching the definition of the word "new" somewhat though, because I'm sure they've done it before a couple of times...

        They do, however, have absolutely amazing rebreather kit.

        1. The Serpent

          Re: Modem

          Sod the comms, the Octonauts' most impressive kit is their power generation and energetic projection technology. Fine, you could imagine a shaped force field projector, mounted in a vehicle, providing the underwater equivalent of a windscreen, but they fit the same device into one side of their collar for use as a diving helmet with one of these physics defying radios in the other lapel and all without so much as a triple A battery in sight

  6. Snivelling Wretch

    More importantly, could this be used to coordinate an inter-shark laser array?

    1. Toltec

      "More importantly, could this be used to coordinate an inter-shark laser array?"

      Shark Inter-Link EXperiment or SILEX

      Already been done using satellites to coordinate the connections.

  7. Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

    To be named....


    1. mitch 2

      Re: To be named....


    2. Olafthemighty

      Re: To be named....


      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        The wetnet !

        Of course.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fish in the middle attack seems a distinct possibility......IPSec over Sound IP anyone?

  9. ProperDave

    Not that I'm a massive conservationist... but isn't there enough hippies protesting about underwater noise already disrupting marine life?

    All that business with sonar upsetting dolphins and whales and whatnot? What happens when TCP traffic gets thrown into the mix?

    1. Don Jefe

      Yes, artificial underwater noise is an issue, but this project supersedes those concerns as the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. This experiment is related to the undersea communications challenges anticipated in the Leonard Nimoy documentary The Voyage Home.

      Unless this technology is developed and deployed prior to the arrival of the probe, Earth will certainly be destroyed in retaliation for the sustained Human assaults on marine mammals. Should this project ultimately prove successful we will be able to successfully spoof bi-directional communications with the probe at far lower costs than developing warp capable spacecraft and the equipment necessary for advanced temporal computations.

  10. bag o' spanners

    that's all very well...

    but where are all the phishing gags?

  11. RISC OS

    And in tomorrow's news....

    ....darpa announce plan to control dolphins via underwater internet. Dolphins will act as highly mobile Mini cruise missile launches and brain implants will allow the navy to send them to locations for launching.

    Darpa says weight of missiles irrelevant as the dolphins are in water.

    Well whatever tomorrow's news is I hope they test the effect of this on marine life... we all know what sonar does to the whales

  12. Black Rat

    Sounds familiar

    TCP/IP with bongo drums (circa 2002) and seems to crop up every five years since.

    Around this time the USNavy was also experimenting with 'stealthy' active sonar* and incurring the wrath of various enviromental groups

    * Instead of going 'ping' and listening for the echo the vessel replays natural ocean sounds eg: dolphin clicks, whalesong, surf noise and iceberg fizzing.

  13. joanbee

    Active cover?

    Does anybody else thing that this would make a great background noise cover for hiding underwater activity or sonar? Or, alternatively, using dropouts/traffic routing/transmission strength changes to track movement of large objects or thermocline layers?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mermaid Porn

    will make it a success, just like Terrestrial Porn and the Terrestrial Internet

  15. Eugene Goodrich

    301, not 404

    "Permanently Moved" - amirite?

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