The growing need for ocean observation systems has stimulated considerable interest within the research community in advancing the enabling technologies of underwater wireless communication and underwater sensor networks. Sensors and ad hoc sensor networks are the emerging tools for performing extensive data-gathering operations on land, and solutions in the subsea setting are being sought. Efficient communication from the sensors and within the network is critical, but the underwater environment is extremely challenging. Addressing the special features of underwater wireless communication in sensor networks, we propose a novel non-line-of-sight network concept in which the link is implemented by means of back-reflection of the propagating optic signal at the ocean-air interface and derive a mathematical model of the channel. Point-to-multipoint links can be achieved in an energy efficient manner and broadcast broadband communications, such as video transmissions, can be executed. We show achievable bit error rates as a function of sensor node separation and demonstrate the feasibility of this concept using state-of-the-art silicon photomultiplier detectors.
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