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Interest in underwater acoustic networks has grown rapidly with the desire to monitor the large portion of the world covered by oceans. Fundamental differences between underwater acoustic propagation and terrestrial radio propagation may call for new criteria for the design of networking protocols. In this paper, the authors focus on some of these fundamental differences, including attenuation and noise, propagation delays, and the dependence of usable bandwidth and transmit power on distance (which has not been extensively considered before in protocol design studies). Furthermore, the relationship between the energy consumptions of acoustic modems in various modes (i.e., transmit, receive, and idle) is different than that of their terrestrial radio counterparts, which also impacts the design of energy-efficient protocols.
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