UACE2025: Characterizing the underwater acoustic communications channel in shallow estuaries and its application to the development of a flexible wideband modulation



    • Session:
      Acoustic modelling and Inversion methods
    • Paper:
      Characterizing the underwater acoustic communications channel in shallow estuaries and its application to the development of a flexible wideband modulation
    • Author(s):
      Henry Dol, Koen Blom, Mathieu Colin, Mark Prior
    • Abstract:
      Underwater acoustic transducer technology is improving significantly, enabling wideband acoustic communications or the flexibility to shift a narrow communication band to a more benign carrier frequency. In the framework of a European project (ECSEL SWARMs), a single commercial-off-the-shelf transducer covering the 17-47 kHz band was selected and added to an existing underwater acoustic communications system. The upgraded system was consequently used to characterize the underwater acoustic channel by performing channel soundings for the full 30 kHz bandwidth and for several distances and velocities. The experiments were performed in a shallow estuary/river environment in The Netherlands. The results of these experiments show that long-range communication may actually be easier than short-range communication, as long as there is still a direct path and when the multipath is sufficiently damped by many (muddy) bottom interactions. On the other hand, this means that wideband modulations for high-speed communication over short ranges still need a minimum of robustness to cope with the delay-Doppler spreading due to reflections and reverberation. Inspired by these results, a flexible wideband modulation and demodulation technique is developed, which is tested a-posteriori for the measured wideband channels by replay simulations, and compared with the in-situ narrowband communication performance.
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    Contact details

    • Contact person:
      Dr Henry Dol
    • e-mail:
    • Affiliation:
      TNO
    • Country:
      Netherlands