June 29, 2001

San Diego's Black's Beach Receives Wireless Network Connectivity via Scripps Pier

HPWREN Participates in Demonstration with UCSD Telecomm and SIO's Center for Coastal Studies

The HPWREN team recently worked with UCSD Telecommunications and SIO's Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) to conduct a wireless network feasibility demonstration from Scripps Pier to Black's Beach. By extending a fiber optics network connection across the beach via a wireless ethernet bridge, scientists from CCS and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will soon have the ability to relay real-time data from ocean sensors to their laboratories.

Lou Forbis, UCSD Telecommunications, demonstrates the use of a wireless high-speed Internet connection at Black's Beach. Forbis has no external antenna attached to his PDA and receives his connectivity via yagi antenna atop Scripp's Pier, which is approximately two miles from his location on the beach.

Specifically, this demonstration is part of CCS' preparation for the 2003 Nearshore Canyon Experiment (NCEX), which has been proposed to the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. When completed, the NCEX will encompass a nearshore processes community model that allows scientists to study better the evolution of surface gravity waves propagating across the continental shelf through the shoaling region and surf zone. The NCEX will also concentrate on corresponding inner shelf and breaking-wave driven nearshore circulation, sediment transport, and subsequent bathymetric change.

While UCSD Telecommunications and HPWREN provided the wireless equipment and networking expertise, the SIO team led the overall demonstration effort. "This technology is just what we are looking for to complete our overall data acquisition system design, said CCS engineer Bill Boyd. "Although more testing is necessary, we are very optimistic about the capabilities of this wireless network."

In addition to testing the feasibility of using a laptop connected via a yagi antenna pointing from the beach to the pier (as seen above), a sector antenna was also used with this PDA/wireless card set-up. Though the PDA was able to make a network connection with only a wireless card at the ~2 mile testing station, a sector antenna was needed to reach a distance of 2.5 miles. "Without the need for power-consuming amplifiers, oceanographic research via these telemetry stations is much more energy efficient," said HPWREN PI Hans-Werner Braun. "We were pleased by the better than expected outcome of the recent connectivity tests."

Additional photographs regarding this activity are available at http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20010628/.


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