Spatial Modulation Experiments in the Underwater Acoustic Channel
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A modulation technique for increasing the reliable data rate achievable by an underwater acoustic communication system is presented and demonstrated. The technique, termed spatial modulation, seeks to control the spatial distribution of signal energy such that the single physical ocean channel supports multiple parallel communication channels. Given a signal energy constraint, a communication architecture with access to parallel channels will have increased capacity and reliability as compared to one with access to a single channel. Results from two experiments demonstrate higher obtainable data rates and power throughput for a system employing spatial modulation than for one that does not. The demonstrated benefits were characterized by an equivalent SNR gain of over 5 dB in the first experiment. In the second experiment, using two element source and receiver arrays with apertures of 0.9 m, a coherently modulated signal was shown to offer nearly 50% greater capacity by using spatial modulation than by using temporal modulation alone.