WIFI USE: How to respect regulations and optimize Parrot Bebop Drone range
The range of Bebop Drone depends on the power of WiFi generated by the device (smartphone / tablet). This power depends on several parameters:
the type of device and its use
In general, it is better to use 2.4GHz WiFi to maximize range. If you want to focus on the quality of streaming video, it is recommended to choose 5GHz WiFi (less interference).
The Parrot Bebop Drone software features an optimized algorithm that gives advantage to the piloting reactivity than the video streaming quality.
Note that the quality of the streaming video has no influence on the quality of the video “onboard” recorded by the drone (1080p 30fps).
To perform these tests, the experimental protocol is as follows:
Bebop flies 20 m above ground
Fly straightkeep heading camera forward (camera forward)
Device held in its optimum position
Flight in a neutral radio environment (without disturbance Wifi)
Flight till disconnection
During these flight test sessions, the quality of the FPV experience varies. For example, you can reach 200m and then the video streaming quality decreases and then arrive around 225 m with a better one. This variation is mainly due to the physical environment around the drone. (Field, trees, buildings …)
The following table shows the Bebop drone’s range results (estimated or calculated) with a Bebop No. PI040339P14K005079 with the version 1.32. FreeFlight versions used for the different smartphones / tablets are for iOS 3.1.25 and for Android 3.1.28. The tests were conducted December 3rd, 2014.
*Europe includes the following countries : Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
The maximal range reached by the Bebop Drone is highly correlated to the device (see Table above). Note that intrinsic Wifi performances of Bebop enable it to reach 2km with Skycontroller in optimal conditions.
To maximize the reach with your device, Wifi antennas for your phone should be oriented to the drone (without obstacles). The position of your hands on it affects the quality of the wireless connection with your drone. Try to hold your device in one direction or the other and vary its inclination.
The Skycontroller * is a device, with a very specific Wi-Fi architecture, designed for the Bebop to maximize its reach. It is not compatible with AR.Drones.
Tests conducted by the Skycontroller take into account the quality of the video streaming unlike other devices. The position of the hands on the Skycontroller does not affect the test results.
Due to the Wifi regulation, channels at the beginning and end can not reach the maximum power.Here are the best channels with Skycontroller:
Channel 6 for 2G4
Channel 44 for 5G band-1
Channel 157 for 5G band-3
The Wifi transmitter of Skycontroller is more powerful in 5 GHz than in 2.4 GHz. The power is limited following the regulations of each country. The maximum power at 2.4 GHz is about 400 mW, it is about 4W at 5 GHz on channel 157.
Each Wifi device must meet the standards of the country in which it is used. This applies to your device and obviously to the Parrot products (in particluar, Bebop and Skycontroller). Each country imposes a maximum power and a set of authorized channels. (See Table below)
To perform the required network settings, go to Settings, and scroll with your finger to the Settings screen Networks
By default, the selected setting is AUTO. Bebop Drone scans the surrounding WiFi networks and select the country it detects in the beacon frames, according to the international standard 802.11d.
When you use the Parot Bebop Drone in the US, the regulation restrains the access to the country setting.
For other countries, you can change manually the setting
Wifi standards distinguish Indoor or Outdoor use, especially in the case of the 5GHz band. This configuration affects the number of available channels.
For some areas , the European zone, the 5GHz band (channels 36,40,44 and 48) are limited to Indoor use. They are therefore inaccessible if the Outdoor setting is selected.
If you select Indoor setting. The channels of the 5GHz band become available to the countries of the European zone.
Notable differences between the networks 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are:
The 5GHz network has a shorter range than 2.4 GHz.
The devices configured in 2.4 GHz are more affected by interference than those configured as 5 GHz (which uses more bandwidth on a given channel).
There are fewer devices supporting 5GHz.
Bebop embeds a channel selection optimization algorithm that will evaluate the best compromise between maximum range and quality of streaming video, while favoring the latter. The channel selection by the algorithm is correlated to the Bebop environment during Bebop boot.
The transmission power of the Bebop is the same at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It is necessary to emit twice the power at 5 GHz to have the same reach than at 2.4 GHz . Ifyou want to focus on the ranfe, configure in Auto 2.4GHz:
The channels are much less congested at 5GHz. The standard for 5GHz Wifi does not extend to the adjacent channels. If you want to focus on streaming video quality, choose the configuration in Auto at 5 GHz.
You can make your setting manually. Select Manual and click on the desired channel in the dropdown list. Reminder: some channels are not available depending on your country and setting Indoor / Outdoor.
Here are our recommendations to increase your drone range:
Choose your device well and check the way you hold it, in particular the position of your hands, especially when you are at the range limit .
Choose the country in which you are in the app.
Respect the indoor / outdoor setting.
Channel selection : if you are in the middle of many wifi networks, choose the auto -all mode. Otherwise, go auto -2,4 mode.
Choose an environment with less physical obstacles as possible wether in front of you or a few meters next to you (tress, fences,..)
Choose a place with the least amount of interference (other pilots, networks … ) .
Stay at a minimum altitude of 5 meters. Avoid being directly above the drone. If you want to fly high, set a distance of 50m between you and the drone.
At the range limit, aim your device to steer the drone and orientate he drone so that you can see its rear feet (camera forward)
The operator should keep the drone in his/her sight.