Aquatec Acoustics - 4 reasons real time data transfer is harder than you think


In today’s world of instant data, smart devices and the internet, getting your subsea data in real time should be easy, right? Using acoustic modems to transfer data is just one communication solution and can be highly successful, but there are a number of challenges that need to be considered. Every project is different and careful planning is essential. Here’s why…

1. The ocean is a noisy place!

Your acoustic signal is not the only noise in the ocean – weather, ships, marine life, earthquakes, submarine slides, construction and trenching all create noise that can propagate over long distances. Local sources of noise, such as ships’ thrusters and other sonar systems, can be particularly troublesome and interfere with or mask the acoustic signal.


2. Your data may not end up where you think.

The pathway that sound takes in the ocean depends on the structure of the water column. Sound is rarely constant with depth, so sound pathways can bend. If your receiver is not located in the right place, your signal may be lost.


3. Bubbles are the enemy!

Bubbles entrained within the water column or near the sea surface absorb sound and you can lose your signal before it reaches the receiver.


4. Distance vs rate – a compromise

You will not be able to transmit huge amounts of data over 10’s of kilometres – finding the right compromise between the amount and frequency of data transfer and the distance over which it is transfers is important to scope out at the start of your project.



Aquatec don’t offer off-the-shelf acoustic modems for precisely these reasons. Instead, we work with you to ensure you get your data when and where you need it. Find out more about Aquatec’s subsea communication solutions here