Doppler Effect in the Acoustic Ultra Low Frequency Band for Wireless Underwater Networks

  • A.-M. Ahmad
  • J. Kassem
  • M. Barbeau
  • E. Kranakis
  • S. Porretta
  • J. Garcia-Alfaro


It is well known that communication is affected by the change in frequency of a signal for an observer that is moving relative to the source. As a result of the motion of either the source or the observer, successive waves are emitted from a position that may get closer or further to the observer. This phenomenon, known as Doppler effect, also affects underwater acoustic waves used for communications between Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Underwater Sensors (USs) and remote operators. There have been few studies on the impact of Doppler shift in underwater communications. Assuming underwater communications using acoustic waves, in this paper we study the Doppler effect in relation to the half-power bandwidth and distance in the Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) band (i.e., from 0.3 to 3 kHz). We investigate two specific issues. Firstly, the maximum shift that can be expected on underwater links in the ULF band. Secondly, the maximum frequency drift, and associated patterns, that can happen during the reception of data frames. Numeric simulations are conducted. The analysis is based on scenarios that show the existence of significant Doppler effect. More specifically, we show that Doppler effect, under narrow half-power bandwidth, is significant with respect to the half-power bandwidth in the ULF band, for long distance communications. Furthermore, we show that Doppler effect patterns are not necessarily linear.


Acoustic waves Airplane underwater locator beacons Communicating autonomous underwater vehicles Doppler effect Half-power bandwidth Subsurface activity sensors Surveillance networks Underwater communications Underwater acoustic vehicles Unmanned undersea vehicles 



This work was partially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We would also like to thank Dr. Stéphane Blouin for fruitful discussions on the topic of this paper.


  1. 1.
    Barbeau M, Blouin S, Cervera G, Garcia-Alfaro J, Hasannezhad B, Kranakis E (2015) Simulation of underwater communications with a colored noise approximation and mobility. In: 28th IEEE canadian conference on electrical and computer engineering (CCECE 2015), Halifax, NS, 2015, pp 1532–1537Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Blouin S, Mahboubi H, Aghdam AG (2017) Long-range passive doppler-only target tracking by single-hydrophone underwater sensors with mobility. In: Migliardi M, Merlo A, Al-HajBaddar S (eds) Adaptive Mobile Computing, chap 4, pp 65–82Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Button RW, Kamp J, Curtin TB, Dryden J (2009) A survey of missions for unmanned undersea vehicles
  4. 4.
    Caruso A, Paparella F, Vieira LFM, Erol M, Gerla M (2008) The meandering current mobility model and its impact on underwater mobile sensor networks. In: 27th conference on computer communications (INFOCOM 2008), pp 221–225Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Decarpigny J, Hamonic B, Wilson O (1991) The design of low frequency underwater acoustic projectors: present status and future trends. IEEE J Ocean Eng 16(1):107–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Freitag L, Partan J, Koski P, Singh S (2015) Long range acoustic communications and navigation in the arctic. In: OCEANS 2015 - MTS/IEEE Washington, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hixson E (2009) A low-frequency underwater sound source for seismic exploration. J Acoust Soc Am 126 (4):2234–2234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lurton X (2002) An introduction to underwater acoustics: principles and applications. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marage JP, Mori Y (2010) Sonar and underwater acoustics. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    The Mathworks Inc. Natick (2015) MATLAB version (R2015a)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nordrum A (2017) NATO Unveils JANUS, First Standardized Acoustic Protocol for Undersea Systems
  12. 12.
    Otnes R, Asterjadhi A, Casari P, Goetz M, Husøy T, Nissen I, Rimstad K, Van Walree P, Zorzi M (2012) Underwater acoustic networking techniques. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Otnes R, Voldhaug JE, Haavik S (2008) On communication requirements in underwater surveillance networks. In: OCEANS 2008-MTS/IEEE Kobe techno-ocean, pp 1–7Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Porter MB (2011) The BELLHOP manual and user’s guide
  15. 15.
    Thorp W (1965) Deep ocean sound attenuation in the sub and low kilocycle per second region. J Acoust Soc Am 38(4):648–654MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Thorp W (1967) Analytic description of the low frequency attenuation coefficient. J Acoust Soc Am 42(1):270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Thorp W, Browning D (1973) Attenuation of low frequency sound in the ocean. J Sound Vib 26(1):576–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wikipedia (2018) Underwater locator beacon
  19. 19.
    Wu B (2015) A correction of the half-power bandwidth method for estimating damping. Arch Appl Mech 85 (2):315–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EngineeringLebanese International UniversityBekaaLebanon
  2. 2.School of Computer ScienceCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Telecom SudParisCNRS SamovarEvryFrance

Personalised recommendations