SK Telecom announced on May 31 that it will unveil underwater communication network technologies and complete the development of a communication system connecting an underwater base stations with underwater sensors by the end of next year. The company said the new technologies will allow to detect submarines, earthquakes and tsunamis and provide information about water resources through monitoring maritime radioactivity and red tide as well as underwater communication.
On the 30th, a joint team of SK Telecom and Hoseo University researchers unveiled its underwater long term evolution (LTE) network technology that can send and receive sound waves 600 meters apart in waters about 10 kilometers west of Incheon and succeeded in sending and receiving text messages, low-resolution pictures and real-time data about water temperatures, salinity and sea currents.
It is a national project dubbed “Distributed Underwater Monitoring and Control Network” to develop station-based underwater communication technologies until 2021, led by Hoseo University in cooperation with 13 research institutions, including SK Telecom.
The underwater station-based communication network mainly consists of underwater sensors, underwater stations and offshore buoys, according to SK Telecom. Data collected from underwater sensors is passed to offshore buoys via underwater stations and the data is sent to the ground via the satellite and LTE networks again. Data is sent using sound waves in the waters and using radio waves in the air.
In addition, the underwater communication technology can detect and identify submarines for national defense using underwater noise sensors around the stations and quickly respond to ship accidents by installing underwater stations in the spot where the accident took place to help communicate easier with divers and underwater robots.
The technology can also secure big data, such as sea currents, water temperatures, salinity, tide speeds and hydrogen ion concentrations, to protect water resources and research the oceanic environment.
Park Jin-hyo, head of the network technology institute at SK Telecom, said, “SK Telecom is the only firm in the country with the technologies to design LTE networks for public safety services (PS-LTE), railroads (LTE-R), maritime facilities (LTE-M) and Distributed Underwater Monitoring and Control Networks (DUMCN). Using experiences in the Internet of Things (IoT) network, we are planning to design the underwater communication network.”