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NURP’s Aquarius wins Infoworld 100 award for creative use of wireless tech
This story entered on 16th Feb, 2006 02:05:52 PM PST

As the world’s only operational undersea laboratory, Aquarius serves as a home base for aquatic research and is a national asset that supports scientists in their efforts to better understand U.S. oceans and coastal resources. It also has award-winning technology. Aquarius was awarded the ,InfoWorld 100 award for innovative use of wireless solutions for its new system that allows real-time data flow during undersea missions. In the past, data and information resulting from a given mission had to wait until the completion of the work to be served on the internet. The new system uses OS-Gemini, a point-to-point broadband wireless equipment and software developed by Orthogon – a provider of fixed wireless solutions, to transmit important scientific findings from the base of the sea floor to its land-based office 10 miles away in Key Largo, Fla. and to the Internet. With the new equipment securely attached to a sea-surface buoy, 62 feet above Aquarius, OS-Gemini provided an average of 31.5 Mbps between the two end points and consistently connected with carrier-grade reliability over the ocean.

After being deployed by Rapid Systems, a leading Internet Service Provider across the State of Florida, the wireless equipment has enabled high-quality video and voice for Internet streaming and monitoring, as well as high-bandwidth applications such as a video conference link. The added bandwidth enabled Aquarius to communicate to its land-based office in ways that previously had never before been possible.

Barbara Moore, director of NOAA’s Undersea Research Program applauded the resourcefulness of the Aquarius team to develop a system to bring the excitement of research to the desktops of scientists, students and the general public alike - in real time!

“We are incredibly honored to be recognized as a top IT innovator by InfoWorld for our use of Orthogon’s wireless technology in our Aquarius underwater laboratory,” said Dominic Landucci, project manager and marine specialist, NOAA’s National Undersea Research Center at UNCW. “By using OS-Gemini, we overcame tremendous challenges, such as rough seas, great distances and unpredictable weather, to deploy a reliable connection between our land base and the Aquarius laboratory at the bottom of the ocean. Moreover, Orthogon has allowed us to take our program further with new applications as a result of additional bandwidth generated from the network.”

“This technological development helps us fulfill our vision of Aquarius as the world’s most capable coral reef and ocean observing system,” said Andrew Shepard, director of the UNCW undersea center. “Real-time data on environmental conditions, both above and underwater, and coral ecosystem health will be available via the Web, allowing scientists to continue their studies year round from their labs.”

The InfoWorld 100 Awards celebrate enterprise IT projects that made the best use of technology to meet business goals in 2005. Entries were judged on innovation and project complexity, as well as stumbling blocks that were overcome to achieve success. Furthermore, to be considered for an award, projects must stretch beyond the typical, off-the-shelf solution, using multiple technologies in innovative ways to meet well-defined objectives. The InfoWorld 100 Awards were published in full in the magazine’s Nov. 14 issue. The Aquarius implementation is listed under government projects.

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Name: Thomas Potts


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Updated: January 23, 2007