OPEN PROTOCOL | European Tracking Network


As stated in the compatibility note, it is now clear that encrypted protocols in acoustic telemetry should be avoided by all means. To move forward towards a much-needed Pan-European collaborative network that could provide relevant information in support of decision-making processes related to conservation and management, compatibility between brands and agreements on transmission protocols and ID allocation are imperative. Therefore, the ETN, together with industry (being Thelma Biotel, Sonotronics and Lotek), have worked on the development of new open tag protocols.


This resulted in two robust and energy-efficient transmission protocols aimed for the aquatic research community, being OPi and OPs, for ID and sensor tags respectively.


OPi supports over 1 million unique IDs, while OPs supports over 64 000 unique IDs with up to 4096 data points resolution. Both protocols are short and effective to reduce issues with transmission collisions.


The protocols are available for all interested manufacturers after agreeing with the terms of references. Opening the infrastructure networks of acoustic telemetry to all manufacturers of different types of sensors and tags will drive innovation, and will boost availability of new solutions for future research. The Manufacturers handed over OP to the ETN, who assigned the Flanders Marine institute as a third party to control the ID allocation related to these protocols.


ETN strives for transparency in this matter, so we wish to note that Innovasea was invited to take part in the development of the Open Protocol, and asked to be part of the testing; Innovasea declined. Innovasea was also asked by the ETN community of researchers to make the Open Protocol available for their receivers on 11 March 2021 (see request here); Innovasea declined on 9 April 2021 (see response here). ETN has subsequently responded to Innovasea to address concerns on 20 May 2021 (see response here).


For any questions or concerns about open protocols or your current acoustic telemetry system, please contact Kim Aarestrup.