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Adapting the USRP as an Underwater Acoustic Modem Paul Ozog Miriam Leeser Milica Stojanovic Northeastern University Boston MA pozog mel coe neu edu millitsa ece neu edu We describe how the Universal Software Radio Peripheral USRP coupled with GNU Radio can be adapted for use as a configurable underwater acoustic UWA modem The USRP contains an Altera Cyclone EP1C12 FPGA and typically acts as the baseband and IF section of a radio communication system Our work is the first time that the USRP GNU Radio is applied to an UWA channel and represents an exciting branch into a field that has a need for cost effective and configurable modems The USRP facilitates such needs through its low cost ability to be used to rapidly prototype and synergistic open platform We outline how to set up a USRP for receiving acoustic signals and passing the received information to a host PC so that the reception and processing are done in a mix of hardware and software UWA communication research will benefit greatly from the adaption of the USRP as an underwater acoustic modem First and foremost the development of a modem using the USRP has applications in oceanographic monitoring and communication Quantitative information such as pollution and military surveillance data can be monitored in a more cost effective way and relayed in underwater networks Also improved acoustic networking would allow more efficient transfer of information between oceanographic equipment such as autonomous vehicles piloted vehicles and underwater profilers 1 Introduction Acoustics is the the best technique for underwater communication Compared to radio based terrestrial communication relatively little is known in the field of underwater acoustic networks UWA communications face unique physical challenges that are not associated with radio communication 2 The first is low propagation speed which is five orders of magnitude lower than radio wave propagation Second the medium causes significant reverberation due to multipath propagation Last there is a relatively small bandwidth available for acoustic signals Considering these physical challenges UWA communication equipment needs to be well adapted to the physical properties of the channel Though commercial acoustic modems are available there are not many to choose from and their proprietary nature makes customization of these products expensive or simply infeasible 3 Researchers need a better option to prototype their algorithms and further develop the field of UWA communication In particular the ability to add functionality to a proprietary system is difficult For example as researchers we wish to investigate designs with different parameters such as carrier frequency bit rate and packet size 4 Commercial modems do not provide the flexibility to parameterize and experiment available in an open reconfigurable platform 5 The USRP as an UWA Modem The USRP is an open platform that is an excellent solution for research in implementing UWA modems and

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