Get more from your Mavic
The largest Mavic community in the world
Join Us Now

Drones in a time of coronavirus (be careful with WiFi models)

Maviac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
491
Location
United States
“Many hours later, as my Tello now lives in a tree, I remember that time a few days ago when my Mavic Air lost signal and I should have learned my lesson then” - Gabriel García Márquez (paraphrased)

So I think most who know me consider me reasonably intelligent and possessed of common sense. But maybe not. So I wanted to share that if you are flying a drone with a WiFi connection (Air, Mini, Tello) and live in a fairly Dense area you might want to avoid flying right now.

I flew my air the other day and 200 feet up, directly overhead, I started getting transmission and reception failures no video but I was able to control it, in and out. I was able to get her safely down but it kept happening all the way down. Never had this issue, at least not until much farther away.

My assumption is that with everyone home and using the internet (and therefore WiFi) more, the frequencies are very congested.

I should have learned my lesson but today my kid really wanted me to fly the Tello. I figured we’d just fly around the yard. Well, same transmission problems as the other day (which, as with the Air, had never happened before). And about 40 feet up, lost connection entirely. Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten “stuck” receiving a descend signal (I was descending at the time I lost signal). And a few seconds later it found its way into the top of a tree, where it will remain.

Anyway, my advice is check the frequencies (which I did on the Air, and it didn’t look too congested) and maybe consider staying on the ground for now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jose_mamede

LazerMan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Messages
131
Reaction score
125
Age
50
Location
Deep South
I no expert but I don't think people using internet wifi has anything to do with the drones operation. I could be wrong but I have had no such problems flying. No disconnects no error msg's nothing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: t76turbo

Maviac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
491
Location
United States
I no expert but I don't think people using internet wifi has anything to do with the drones operation. I could be wrong but I have had no such problems flying. No disconnects no error msg's nothing.
It’s been well documented that a lot of WiFi interference from nearby routers/hotspots degrade performance on the Air. I’d assume the same applies to the Mini and Tello.
 

WithTheBirds

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2018
Messages
2,349
Reaction score
1,417
I no expert but I don't think people using internet wifi has anything to do with the drones operation. I could be wrong but I have had no such problems flying. No disconnects no error msg's nothing.
the fact it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it can’t, many experience this issue- it’s a real thing.

Simply compare the frequency bands employed by wifi routers and certain other devices with your model- if you see an overlap expect problems in areas with a lot of equipment operating.

Why do you think DJI models have the option to select a frequency (manual or auto)? It isn’t just to play nice with someone who might be flying close to you- it is to allow for the expected congestion from other devices.
 

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
284
Reaction score
334
Location
New England
Flying these UAV systems directly above you can be a bit dodgy when it comes to maintaining connection. This is because there is really no antenna position that is ideal for maintaining connection. The best you can do is hold the controller level with the ground and stick the antennas straight out and parallel rather than at approx 45 degree angles as usual. That was probably the issue here. Bottom line is directly above and in a close cone of directly above is a signal gray area to be aware of.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
4,637
Reaction score
3,606
Age
57
Location
Adelaide, South Australia, the great southern land
The question begs . . . if wifi is on in an area, and there is little or no data transmission through it, does / can it still cause interference ?
I thought that was generally considered a yes.

The next question . . . does more data traffic cause more interference ?

It’s been well documented that a lot of WiFi interference from nearby routers/hotspots degrade performance on the Air. I’d assume the same applies to the Mini and Tello.
Spark too, though I usually have very good connection to mine whenever I have flown it from home testing.
We have a strong wifi at our residence, and neighbours all have their own wifi too.
 

Maviac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
491
Location
United States
The question begs . . . if wifi is on in an area, and there is little or no data transmission through it, does / can it still cause interference ?
I thought that was generally considered a yes.

The next question . . . does more data traffic cause more interference ?



Spark too, though I usually have very good connection to mine whenever I have flown it from home testing.
We have a strong wifi at our residence, and neighbours all have their own wifi too.
I thought about that. I think modern 802.11n and ac routers have dynamic power output depending on traffic. And it could just be a coincidence, but it was the best explanation I could come up with.
 

Maviac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
491
Location
United States
Flying these UAV systems directly above you can be a bit dodgy when it comes to maintaining connection. This is because there is really no antenna position that is ideal for maintaining connection. The best you can do is hold the controller level with the ground and stick the antennas straight out and parallel rather than at approx 45 degree angles as usual. That was probably the issue here. Bottom line is directly above and in a close cone of directly above is a signal gray area to be aware of.
I was holding the controller with the flat ends of the antennas pointed straight at the AC as shown in the manual diagram. Still help showing low reception, then dropped. It may we’ll be something else but there were dozens of people using wifi within a couple hundred feet vs. a handful usually, so it’s the best explanation I could come up with for it happening twice.
 

sar104

Dic mihi solum facta, domina.
Premium Pilot
Joined
May 27, 2017
Messages
11,783
Reaction score
14,699
Location
Los Alamos, NM
“Many hours later, as my Tello now lives in a tree, I remember that time a few days ago when my Mavic Air lost signal and I should have learned my lesson then” - Gabriel García Márquez (paraphrased)

So I think most who know me consider me reasonably intelligent and possessed of common sense. But maybe not. So I wanted to share that if you are flying a drone with a WiFi connection (Air, Mini, Tello) and live in a fairly Dense area you might want to avoid flying right now.

I flew my air the other day and 200 feet up, directly overhead, I started getting transmission and reception failures no video but I was able to control it, in and out. I was able to get her safely down but it kept happening all the way down. Never had this issue, at least not until much farther away.

My assumption is that with everyone home and using the internet (and therefore WiFi) more, the frequencies are very congested.

I should have learned my lesson but today my kid really wanted me to fly the Tello. I figured we’d just fly around the yard. Well, same transmission problems as the other day (which, as with the Air, had never happened before). And about 40 feet up, lost connection entirely. Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten “stuck” receiving a descend signal (I was descending at the time I lost signal). And a few seconds later it found its way into the top of a tree, where it will remain.

Anyway, my advice is check the frequencies (which I did on the Air, and it didn’t look too congested) and maybe consider staying on the ground for now.
There's no way for it to get stuck with a "descend command". What likely happened is that the aircraft was close enough to the home point that the failsafe protocol was to land instead of RTH.
 

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
284
Reaction score
334
Location
New England
I was holding the controller with the flat ends of the antennas pointed straight at the AC as shown in the manual diagram. Still help showing low reception, then dropped. It may we’ll be something else but there were dozens of people using wifi within a couple hundred feet vs. a handful usually, so it’s the best explanation I could come up with for it happening twice.
Yeah. It sounds like you did all you could, so very well could have been other‘s interference.
 

Maviac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
491
Location
United States
There's no way for it to get stuck with a "descend command". What likely happened is that the aircraft was close enough to the home point that the failsafe protocol was to land instead of RTH.
Gotcha. Wasn’t sure about that. I just know my connection went out and it descended another 10 feet into the tree. It might have been caught in a downdraft or something (this was the Tello so no RTH; if it had been the Air I’d be deep into a bottle of scotch right now).

Good news is it actually did fall out of the tree a few minutes ago and seems to work fine.
 
Last edited:

Johnmcl7

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Messages
853
Reaction score
680
Location
Inverness, Scotland
The question begs . . . if wifi is on in an area, and there is little or no data transmission through it, does / can it still cause interference ?
I thought that was generally considered a yes.

The next question . . . does more data traffic cause more interference ?
I'm more familiar with enterprise level access points and been surveying them recently for a new install and even when they had no clients connected, it's possible to detect them at a reasonable range. They were definitely causing interference with each other because they were initially set up incorrectly and all on the same channel and their performance was atrocious as expected until they were set to different channels. Looking at the wifi channels and their power levels from my house I'm not seeing any increase in signal strength compared to

I've not looked at the client side as I've only done site surveys for infrastructure devices, I'm wondering if potentially an active wireless device at the edge of an access point's range could extend the interference slightly since the wifi connection is not a specific direction.

I suspect in practice the difference between people working from home and not will not change wifi interference anyway but even that aside, many houses now have a number of wifi devices (wifi doorbells, cameras, voice assistants etc.) so even when no-one is home there will still be active wireless traffic
 
  • Like
Reactions: MAvic_South_Oz

unionglzr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
180
Reaction score
75
Location
Saugus Ma.
“Many hours later, as my Tello now lives in a tree, I remember that time a few days ago when my Mavic Air lost signal and I should have learned my lesson then” - Gabriel García Márquez (paraphrased)

So I think most who know me consider me reasonably intelligent and possessed of common sense. But maybe not. So I wanted to share that if you are flying a drone with a WiFi connection (Air, Mini, Tello) and live in a fairly Dense area you might want to avoid flying right now.

I flew my air the other day and 200 feet up, directly overhead, I started getting transmission and reception failures no video but I was able to control it, in and out. I was able to get her safely down but it kept happening all the way down. Never had this issue, at least not until much farther away.

My assumption is that with everyone home and using the internet (and therefore WiFi) more, the frequencies are very congested.

I should have learned my lesson but today my kid really wanted me to fly the Tello. I figured we’d just fly around the yard. Well, same transmission problems as the other day (which, as with the Air, had never happened before). And about 40 feet up, lost connection entirely. Unfortunately, it seems to have gotten “stuck” receiving a descend signal (I was descending at the time I lost signal). And a few seconds later it found its way into the top of a tree, where it will remain.

Anyway, my advice is check the frequencies (which I did on the Air, and it didn’t look too congested) and maybe consider staying on the ground for now.
wifi is already there i dont think it gets stronger because more people at home using it .....maybe even weaker
 
  • Like
Reactions: HighlandsVideo

maverickRKJ

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2019
Messages
41
Reaction score
19
Age
57
Location
75067
I no expert but I don't think people using internet wifi has anything to do with the drones operation. I could be wrong but I have had no such problems flying. No disconnects no error msg's nothing.
i have to agree , as i live where there is a lot of wifi use and never had any problems with eirther of my drones mavic pro and the phantom 3 advance
good luck with yours
 
  • Like
Reactions: N8JYF

FoxhallGH

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
2,395
Reaction score
2,400
Location
UK - Suffolk
wifi is already there i dont think it gets stronger because more people at home using it .....maybe even weaker
WiFi is using data traffic protocols that involve 'packets' of data. Each packet has a header which provides information about where it is coming from, and where it's going to. Each WiFi receiver in the area, and on the same particular channel, will receive every 'packet' of data on that frequency, and then put it through a filter to determine if it's valid at that receiver ... i.e. does the encryption password in the header, match the encryption password in my transmitter/receiver? ... Keeping that in mind, it's easy to see why data transmission rates slow down when the use of a wireless access point goes up - and how a drone could get a bit overwhelmed if it was on a busy frequency band.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
4,637
Reaction score
3,606
Age
57
Location
Adelaide, South Australia, the great southern land
i have to agree , as i live where there is a lot of wifi use and never had any problems with eirther of my drones mavic pro and the phantom 3 advance
good luck with yours
Those drones don't use wifi for their signal connection, but use the fantastic Occusync (M1P) . . . and the Phantom 3 ??
Not sure, Lightbridge perhaps ?
But it isn't wifi.

The mini, spark, tello all use wifi, and range / connection in urban with lots of wifi can be an issue.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HighlandsVideo

sdold

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
151
Reaction score
138
Location
Northern CA
Those drones don't use wifi for their signal connection, but use the fantastic Occusync (M1P) . . . and the Phantom 3 ??
Not sure, Lightbridge perhaps ?
But it isn't wifi.

The mini, spark, tello all use wifi, and range / connection in urban with lots of wifi can be an issue.
I think it's the same bands though, isn't it? 2.4 and 5.8 GHz
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
4,637
Reaction score
3,606
Age
57
Location
Adelaide, South Australia, the great southern land
I think it's the same bands though, isn't it? 2.4 and 5.8 GHz
Indeed, but the wifi is more disturbed for some reason.
Pretty well documented, I've read a few articles about it . . . I'll just have a quick search . . .

 

Mutli

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
10
Location
Penrith, Sydney, Australia
I have found around the areas I fly my Air, that 5Ghz seems less congested and less at risk of interference. I have had some issues with interference but only when using 2.4Ghz as it is much more congested
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
4,637
Reaction score
3,606
Age
57
Location
Adelaide, South Australia, the great southern land
I have found around the areas I fly my Air, that 5Ghz seems less congested and less at risk of interference. I have had some issues with interference but only when using 2.4Ghz as it is much more congested
Whoops yeah, forgot about the Air too, though you might be right there, BIL has one and has great range, even around mildly urban.
I think flying in areas of really large wifi interference, that pilot is most probably flying somewhere getting much too urban for safe flight anyway.
 
All E RC Mavic Drones

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
85,150
Messages
982,680
Members
113,705
Latest member
asal2020