The massive growth in communication technology in recent years birthed seamless terrestrial wireless communication. Owing to this success, a quest to establish underwater communication systems emerged. There has been a great advancement in this field, particularly with underwater sensor networks; which have been deployed more frequently. An example of this is the operations of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). AUVs are robots which travel underwater without needing an operator. AUVs represents the rapid advancements in underwater communication systems as they are increasingly being deployed in various capacities for underwater operations.
With two third of the earth surface being covered by water; it is just ideal to establish underwater communication systems; as there are a great number of benefits to be derived from these systems.
- Security: Underwater Communication systems are instrumental in ensuring the security of a nation. It is used by the military, to conduct underwater surveillance, as well as to detect intrusion. As rival states might plan a sabotage through the water; having a communication system in the body of waters will alert the nation to the danger. Also, as drug traffickers now deploy autonomous submarines for their operations; having strong communication systems will help to detect and keep them off.
- Economy: Underwater communication systems are useful for commercial purposes; particularly in industries such as oil and gas. The ocean is full of a lot of resources, and these systems are used in carrying out exploration of these resources. In the oil and gas industry, for example, AUVs are used in making maps of the seafloor before operations. This will keep these oil and gas practitioners well informed in setting up their pipelines, and other infrastructure. This ensures their infrastructure is set up, without posing any harm to the environment.
- Scientific Exploration and Data Collection: These systems are also very beneficial to science; as it is used for exploration and data collection underwater. It is used in fieldslike marine biology, marine archeology and oceanology. The discoveries made underwater; could be beneficial to the health sector, and also in making modern inventions.
- Monitoring The Environment: Underwater communication systems help the government in monitoring the environment. Activities of companies in the oil and gas industry; pertaining to how they affect the environment can be checked. Environmental pollution can also be monitored, and subsequently controlled through these systems. Climate change can likewise be detected. Also, natural disasters can be predicted through detection of early signs by these systems. This reduces the likelihood of the occurrence of such disasters.
- Search And Survey: Autonomous underwater vehicles have also been deployed in finding crashed aircrafts; and investigation into the causes of their crash. The emergence of communication systems have resulted in the discoveries of the remains of the Titanic, and also the discovery of hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. These systems are used in detecting objects which aid mapping, and discoveries underwater. They are also very reliable for rescue missions.
In addition, underwater communication systems; are much faster than terrestrial communication systems. This is because acoustic waves are used in carrying information and are effective over long distances.
Underwater communication systems are faced with a number of difficulties; such as the effect of noise, power sources and limited bandwidths. All of these sometimes affect the performance of these systems. This, however, will not pose a problem for too long, as the incredible prospect of fully-effective underwater communication systems has inspired a great deal of research. To that end, lots of publications have already been produced; and remarkable progress has been made.