On the Relationship between the Underwater Acoustic and Optical Channels
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Wireless transmissions in water are mostly carried out via long-range (but low-rate) underwater acoustic communications, or short-range (but high-rate) underwater optical communications. In this paper we are interested in finding whether a statistical relationship exists between underwater acoustics and optics. Besides the theoretical interest of such relationship, predicting the quality of the optical link through acoustics is also relevant in the context of a multimodal system with both acoustics and optics. Our study is based on a large dataset acquired during the NATO ALOMEX'2015 expedition. During this experiment, we simultaneously measured several characteristics of the acoustic and optical links at multiple locations, reflecting a diversity of sea environments. Our results, show a strong correlation between the properties of the acoustic link and the reliability of optical communications. This correlation makes it possible to predict the state of the underwater optical link at a certain depth and range. Due to the complexity of the acoustic and optical channels, we could not find the source of this correlation. This work is therefore aimed to stimulate a theoretical study of the mutual properties of underwater acoustic and optical communication links. For reproducibility, we share the processed data from the experiment.