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December 07, 2010

SA Photonics Successfully Tests Neptune Underwater Satellite Communications System

By Rahul Arora, TMCnet Contributor

SA Photonics, a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative photonics solutions for commercial and government applications, recently announced in a press release that it has successfully completed Open Ocean testing of its Neptune underwater communications system.

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SA Phonotics performed the testing in conjunction with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at their pier in the San Diego harbor. The results from the tests clearly reveal that Neptune achieved data rates of up to 50 Megabits per second at distances beyond 20 attenuation lengths in turbid coastal water by precisely modulating a visible wavelength fiber laser.

By providing data rates that are 1000 times higher than existing acoustic modems, SA Photonics’ Neptune system enables much needed bandwidth for critical underwater applications.

“Our Neptune communications system will transform communications between ships, submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles, even in turbid coastal waters,” said Jim Coward, SA Photonics’ president and CEO, in a press release. “SA Photonics’ Neptune also provides a means to communicate in acoustically noisy littoral waters, where traditional acoustic modems have difficulty.”

Leveraging their extensive expertise in communications systems and fiber lasers, engineers at SA Photonics have been able to create a system that can autonomously change modulation formats and data rate depending on the water quality and link distance. Neptune incorporates an SA Photonics BeamDirector that provides precision closed loop acquisition, pointing and tracking for the optical link. Neptune, a very small, lightweight and power efficient system, easily installs in mini-subs and unmanned underwater vehicles, as well as in submarines and ships.

SA Photonics’ expertise includes optical communications, ruggedized photonics hardware, opto-mechanical design, and complex analog and digital engineering. Since its inception, the company is manufacturing products and technologies that include world-class solutions to problems in coherent communications, head-mounted displays, high power microwave sensors, LADAR/LIDAR systems, fast steering mirror sense and control systems, compact fiber gyros, high power pulsed fiber lasers and RF beamformers.


Rahul Arora is a TMCnet contributor. He has worked as an editor and freelance writer for several reputed organizations in India. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard