Surfing the Internet gets Literal with Underwater Wi-Fi

Aqua-Vu-guys-on-a-boat-505x290Wi-Fi internet has been commonly made for the land-lovers. However 20,000 leagues under the sea, the likes of Aquaman and Spongebob Squarepants might just as easily receive Wi-Fi service in the near future. A team from the University of Buffalo sought out to discover if aquatic internet is possible by experimenting in Lake Erie. They were successful in transmitting internet from below the surface.

However, the purpose of exploring deep sea internet is not just so scuba divers can update their Facebook status or upload a picture of a fish to Pinterest. This revolutionary internet exploration could help simplify the methods of studying underwater life as well as understand the environment better from here on land.

“A submerged wireless network will give us an unprecedented ability to collect and analyze data from our oceans in real time”, said associate professor of electrical engineering Tommaso Melodi.

The benefits of this technological advancement could be utilized to collect and send data from the sea floor to help quickly detect tsunamis or other natural disasters. This is also a tool that would assist in the studying of undersea life forms such as whales, sharks, and other fish. It creates a convenient way to monitor fish and keep a count on mammal numbers.

In addition, man-made issues could also be monitored and detected with the help of underwater Wi-Fi. It would be helpful in monitoring pollution level, offshore oil, and natural gas exploration. Even drug trafficking could be slowed down with internet assistance by creating networks of devices to detect this behavior. It has previously been difficult for law enforcement to detect submarines transporting drugs from South America to North America.

The Wi-Fi radio signal is able to function by transmitting acoustic waves underwater to the buoy, similar to how submarine navigation performs. Once it hits the buoy it will convert it into radio waves to send out to a satellite. Traditional radio waves are weak and unreliable underwater.

Wi-Fi is constantly expanding and growing here on land, ranging from large venues to small cities. We are now taking strides to bring internet to uncharted territories of the sea. Before you know it, we might be getting Wi-Fi on the moon.

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