Underwater acoustic sensor networks (UASNs) are often used for environmental and industrial sensing in undersea/ocean space, therefore, these networks are also named underwater wireless sensor networks (UWSNs). Underwater sensor networks are different from other sensor networks due to the acoustic channel used in their physical layer, thus we should discuss about the specific features of these underwater networks such as acoustic channel modeling and protocol design for different layers of open system interconnection (OSI) model. Each node of these networks as a sensor needs to exchange data with other nodes; however, complexity of the acoustic channel makes some challenges in practice, especially when we are designing the network protocols. Therefore based on the mentioned cases, we are going to review general issues of the design of an UASN in this paper. In this regard, we firstly describe the network architecture for a typical 3D UASN, then we review the characteristics of the acoustic channel and the corresponding challenges of it and finally, we discuss about the different layers e.g. MAC protocols, routing protocols, and signal processing for the application layer of UASNs.
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