Advancement of routing protocols and applications of Underwater Wireless Sensor Network (UWSN)-A survey

Khandaker Foysal Haque, K. Habibul Kabir, Ahmed Abdelgawad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Water covers a greater part of the Earth's surface. However, little knowledge has been achieved regarding the underwater world as most parts of it remain unexplored. Oceans, including other water bodies, hold substantial natural resources and also the aquatic lives. These are mostly undiscovered and unknown due to the unsuited and hazardous underwater environments for the human. This inspires the unmanned exploration of these dicey environments. Neither unmanned exploration nor the distant real-time monitoring is possible without deploying Underwater Wireless Sensor Network (UWSN). Consequently, UWSN has drawn the interests of the researchers recently. This vast underwater world is possible to be monitored remotely from a distant location with much ease and less risk. The UWSN is required to be deployed over the volume of the water body to monitor and surveil. For vast water bodies like oceans, rivers and large lakes, data is collected from the different heights/depths of the water level which is then delivered to the surface sinks. Unlike terrestrial communication and radio waves, conventional mediums do not serve the purpose of underwater communication due to their high attenuation and low underwater-transmission range. Instead, an acoustic medium is able to transmit data in underwater more efficiently and reliably in comparison to other mediums. To transmit and relay the data reliably from the bottom of the sea to the sinks at the surface, multi-hop communication is utilized with different schemes. For seabed to surface sink communication, leading researchers proposed different routing protocols. The goal of these routing protocols is to make underwater communications more reliable, energy-efficient and delay efficient. This paper surveys the advancement of some of the routing protocols which eventually helps in finding the most efficient routing protocol and some recent applications for the UWSN. This work also summarizes the remaining challenging issues and the future trends of those considered routing protocols. This survey encourages further research efforts to improve the routing protocols of UWSN for enhanced underwater monitoring and exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjsan9020019
JournalJournal of Sensor and Actuator Networks
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic communication
  • Energy-efficient
  • Multi-hop communication
  • Reliable
  • Routing protocols
  • UnderwaterWireless Sensor Network (UWSN)


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