Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 04

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Volume 20, No. 4
Pages 150 - 155


Broadband, Low-Cost, Coastal Sensor Nets

By David P. Fries , Stanislav Z. Ivanov , Pragnesh H. Bhanushali , James A. Wilson, Heather A. Broadbent , and Arthur C. Sanderson 
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High-bandwidth wireless communication links could provide major improvements to integrated ocean observatory systems. The potential of broadband wireless networks opens up numerous application scenarios for coastal environmental monitoring, research, and security. High-bandwidth networks allow the incorporation of bandwidth-hogging video/voice applications along with arrays of environmental sensors, which typically have low data rates. We remotely monitored an ecological hotspot in Tampa Bay waters using low-cost sensor nodes deployed in a wide-area, broadband sensor network. The sensors used in this network were an example of micromachining technology called micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS). Sensors using this technological approach can be designed to monitor the biological, chemical, and physical environment, or they can be used to detect microbial, chemical, or radiological agents. One key device in our demonstration was a low-cost, low-power salinity sensor (CTD) made of waterproof, printed circuit MEMS materials. Another element of the sensor Web was an offshore camera that permitted remote viewing of surface-water conditions in real time for a sustained period. The sensors were attached to an array of easily fieldable 802.11b-capable network nodes. The low cost of the sensor nodes makes it possible to economically deploy a large array. These high- and low-bit-rate sensor nodes provide real-time data and are remotely configurable, enabling an adaptive broadband observing system.


Fries, D.P., S.Z. Ivanov, P.H. Bhanushali, J.A. Wilson, H.A. Broadbent, and A.C. Sanderson. 2007. Broadband, low-cost, coastal sensor nets. Oceanography 20(4):150–155, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.15.

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