Until now scientists had to retrieve data from experimental buoy platforms by either traveling to the site, or relying upon satellite transmission. Low bandwidth satellite data transmission is commonly used, but high bandwidth transmission using satellites is very expensive. The ALOHA Cabled Observatory supplies users with power and Ethernet connectivity to a shore station utilizing fiber optic telecommunications cables for real-time data retrieval. The characteristics of electro-optical cables allow researchers to greatly expand the scope of their experiments, and to consider semi-permanent instrument installations in the ocean, without the need for routine servicing to replace batteries and recover data.
This diagram shows the basic network communications between the ACO and the University of Hawaii. Details of the network configuration and equipment used can be found in the ACO wiki.