PopotoModem debuts initial NATO ANEP-87 (JANUS) OEM underwater communications system

PopotoModem announced Wednesday its initial low cost, small-scale, JANUS compliant underwater acoustic modem target for OEM solutions. This flexible modem board-set measures 60mm x 90mm and features a 100-watt transmitter and an ultra-low noise receiver utilizing sophisticated DSP technology by Texas Instruments. 

By implementing the JANUS standard for undersea telecom, this modem maximizes interoperability with the outside world. In any communication system, standardization is fundamental. A common mechanism or language must be followed on both ends of the system for successful data transmission. 

In March 2017, NATO released ANEP-87 Digital Underwater Signaling Standard for Network Node Discovery and Interoperability (JANUS). It is an underwater communications standard that has been defined by an international body. JANUS is the first step toward the “internet of underwater things.” This equipment includes such applications as underwater autonomous vehicles, diver and ship communication systems, smart buoys, and intelligent sensors.

JANUS utilizes acoustic sound waves at an 11.52 kHz carrier frequency to transmit information wirelessly through the water. A transmitter and receiver can be separated by several kilometers, and still maintain communication acoustically through the water. Although the data rate is low (80 bps) compared to internet standards, this information rate is more than adequate for most marine applications.

Located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, PopotoModem focuses on reliable underwater OEM communications solutions. Its team brings together experienced hardware and software, and ocean engineers, and its offerings are targeted at enabling robust acoustic communications in markets that were previously cost-prohibitive.

JANUS can be used to contact underwater devices using a common format; announce the presence of a device to reduce conflicts; and enable a group of underwater devices (that can be underwater robots, submarines, divers or any other equipment operating under the surface) to organise themselves into a network. 

Adopted globally, JANUS can make military and civilian, NATO and non-NATO devices interoperable, providing them all with a common language with which to communicate and arrange to cooperate. 

JANUS has been extensively tested at sea in exercises involving a number of partners such as universities, industries and research institutions, covering a range of application scenarios. Close collaboration with NATO allies has been particularly fruitful in developing JANUS for use in cases that may improve the safety of maritime operations.

PopotoModem has designed their modem to be very easy to interface with. It is fully programmable and comes with a Python API and a MATLAB API to allow customers to launch sophisticated applications very quickly. In addition, Popoto supports many different interfaces including, ethernet, rs-232, rs-422, i2c and SPI, to make interfacing to external equipment much easier. Popoto supports the JANUS plugin infrastructure too, making it future proof as the standard grows.

“We have seized upon today’s cell phone market trend of higher integration, higher processing power and lower cost to produce a small, powerful, elegant and affordable solution,” says James DellaMorte of PopotoModem. “It is our hope that the new price point and standardized communication will allow for innovative applications that were previously too expensive or impractical to consider.” 

“We believe we have created an exceptional modem, achieving low cost, small size, and high ACOMMS reliability. We are eager to help our customers integrate it and become innovators in this new ‘internet of underwater things’,” said James.

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