Robust Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Satellite Communications Protocol for UUVs

Period of Performance: 06/05/2002 - 12/06/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wavix, Inc.
8100 Professional Place, Suite 205
Landover, MD 20785
Principal Investigator


Wavix proposes to capitalize on its unique combination of expertise in satellite communications and oceanographic systems to develop an optimized-protocol solution to the problem of RF satellite communications in disadvantaged marine environments. Our solution will invoke a diverse but coordinated array of noise-mitigation techniques that function at the lowest levels of the 7-layer OSI Model, namely, the Physical Layer and the Link Layer of the protocol. In this Phase-I effort we will characterize the physical marine environment for the requirements it places on RF systems. Working from those requirements, we will develop a parameterized conceptual model for low-level protocols that addresses the degraded performance faced by maritime users. We will also consider compatible error-reduction strategies and approaches to embedding higher-level protocols that can further increase data-transmission efficiency. In modeling the low-level protocol, our requirements analysis will go beyond just noise characteristics. We also will consider constraints imposed by the physical limitations of the application, e.g., small UUVs or profiling buoys of limited power, weight, and size, as well as compatibility with existing UHF SATCOM systems. Wavix has an ongoing business in satellite communications, with our current major customer being users of e-mail services in developing countries. Our intention from the start was, and remains, to serve the oceanographic community with a system that can retrieve data from buoys. The system we currently have in place is achieving this goal but with some serious limitations. The protocol envisioned for this effort will increase our link margins somewhat allowing us to decrease antenna size enough to serve a larger customer base. In addition, it will allow us to increase our current system capacity as well as the density of users in any particular location. There are other niche markets that such a system can serve that, when aggregated, become a significant opportunity. There is a high demand world-wide for inexpensive data transmission services. By dropping the price for such services, many new markets will open, such as providing inexpensive e-mail and data services on ships for crew and passengers and supporting Arctic, Antarctic, and other scientific research in remote areas. A satellite system designed to serve oceanographic research can easily accommodate these other niche markets.