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Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Problems of AR Drone 2.0, Freeflight 2, Flight Recorder GPS, Qgroundcontrol... etc.
headinthetrees
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Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by headinthetrees » 24 Dec 2010, 15:31

Has anyone used 2 or more routers in ad-hoc mode to extend the signal range of the drone?

My problem is this, I just bought ~40 acres of land (I know, big problem, right?) While everything else, water, power, roadwork, cabin, had to come first, I'm finally getting the network setup. So far I've got about 15% blanketed in wifi. I plan to expand this considerably. There are any number of reasons for doing it, convenience, automation, security, geekdom. Eventually I'd like to be able to fly a drone all over the property (and beyond!) without losing control. Is it possible for the drone to hop between different ap's?

I will probably not be controlling this via any apple products on a regular basis, so a linux solution is what I'm after.

Also floating in the back of my head was an auto-tracking directional wifi antenna mounted on the cabin that would follow the ar.drone's flight path and help ensure better signal. I'm thinking servo's connected to an arduino board then using signal strength (and possibly gps) to track. I realize the weak link in this would be the radio coming from the drone, but at least if it lost communication you might get off a UDP "come back" packet.

Let's hear your ideas for some real range on these things so I can get amped on buying one instead of a new tv. My next step is the pepper spray mod =)

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by rogueqd » 24 Dec 2010, 18:28

Well I'm sure that thee are more knowledgeable people here than me, but a directional antenna should pick up a much weaker signal from the drone than the iPhone would right? So that might not be such a bad idea.

Although I think really you might be better off with a more open source quad-copter in the first place. Why get a bunch of tech to overcome the drones limitations when you could just buy a better copter with a bunch of more tech in it. No offense to the drone, but it is a toy, and it sounds like you want something more serious.

headinthetrees
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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by headinthetrees » 24 Dec 2010, 20:47

Ya I see what you're saying. However I'm no hardware guy, and definitely not an electronics nerd, so starting with an open source platform and building upon it would probably be a lot shorter road to where I am going.

Also, I had planned on covering my property with wifi anyway. The conduit is already buried, its just a matter of pulling wire and connecting routers. The auto-tracking antenna was just a hair-brained idea I'd probably never get around to.

But I think for $300, I'd be hard pressed to build the copter myself, not to mention the months it would take me to get it to a semi-functional state. I'd rather buy it and piggyback a stronger radio/higher gain antenna. Also this way I have a community of people to talk to about my project who are working on the same hardware.

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by tdekort » 24 Dec 2010, 21:05

headinthetrees wrote:Has anyone used 2 or more routers in ad-hoc mode to extend the signal range of the drone?

My problem is this, I just bought ~40 acres of land (I know, big problem, right?) While everything else, water, power, roadwork, cabin, had to come first, I'm finally getting the network setup. So far I've got about 15% blanketed in wifi. I plan to expand this considerably. There are any number of reasons for doing it, convenience, automation, security, geekdom. Eventually I'd like to be able to fly a drone all over the property (and beyond!) without losing control. Is it possible for the drone to hop between different ap's?
As far as I understand, the drone does not connect to ap's, but it creates the ad-hoc network itself. In other words: the drone act as the access point. You would need your iPhone to connect to a router, and then have the router nearest to the drone connect to the ad-hoc network and relay communication between the iPhone and the drone. I wouldn't know how to accomplish this.

I guess the best shot we have at increasing range is for both the drone and the iPhone to start supporting the draftN WiFi standard, which should have much greater range than the b/g standards.

It would be really cool to be able to extend the range, so please keep us up to date on your developments !

Merry christmas,
Toine

headinthetrees
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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by headinthetrees » 24 Dec 2010, 21:57

That could be done with some ddwrt-enabled routers I think. You have them aggressively trying to find the best (read: strongest signal) path to the drone. Shouldn't prove all that difficult I'm guessing. I was hoping someone else had already tackled this hurdle so I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. I actually think most of the work is done for me with ad-hoc's auto route finding.

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by MAPGPS » 26 Dec 2010, 13:14

An alternative is to implement an on-drone app which can let AR.Drone roaming WiFi APs (Access Point).

You can refer to this post:
http://www.ardrone-flyers.com/forum/vie ... ?f=8&t=374" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
For setting AR.Drone to connect to AP.

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by MAPGPS » 26 Dec 2010, 13:55

It can use "iwlist" command on AR.Drone to scan the available WiFi APs.
Here is the output on my AR.Drone:

Code: Select all

# iwlist ath0 scan
ath0      Scan completed :
          Cell 01 - Address: 00:23:CD:8C:52:85
                    ESSID:"TP-LTRS"
                    Mode:Master
                    Frequency:2.412 GHz (Channel 1)
                    Quality=13/94  Signal level=-82 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s
                              9 Mb/s; 12 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s
                              48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
                    Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
                    Extra:bcn_int=100
                    Extra:wmm_ie=dd180050f2020101060003a4000027a4000042435e00623
22f00
                    Extra:ath_ie=dd0900037f01010000ff7f
          Cell 02 - Address: 00:25:86:3C:A5:A2
                    ESSID:"TP-LINK_WiFi2"
                    Mode:Master
                    Frequency:2.417 GHz (Channel 2)
                    Quality=10/94  Signal level=-85 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s
                    Protocol:IEEE 802.11b
                    Extra:bcn_int=100
          Cell 03 - Address: 00:1F:33:B9:66:A8
                    ESSID:"AP-008"
                    Mode:Master
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=4/94  Signal level=-91 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
                              24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
                              12 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
                    Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
                    Extra:bcn_int=100
                    Extra:wmm_ie=dd180050f2020101800003a4000027a4000042435e00623
22f00
          Cell 04 - Address: 00:23:CD:D5:29:63
                    ESSID:"MAPGPS"
                    Mode:Master
                    Frequency:2.457 GHz (Channel 10)
                    Quality=52/94  Signal level=-42 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on
                    Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s
                              12 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
                              48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
                    Protocol:IEEE 802.11g
                    Extra:bcn_int=100
                    Extra:ath_ie=dd0900037f01010008ff7f
It shows ESSID:"MAPGPS" has the strongest signal (Quality=52/94 Signal level=-42 dBm)

And it is the AP which my AR.Drone connected to. Can be verified by:

Code: Select all

# iwconfig ath0
ath0      AR6000 802.11g  ESSID:"MAPGPS"
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.457 GHz  Access Point: 00:23:CD:D5:29:63
          Bit Rate=54 Mb/s   Tx-Power=16 dBm   Sensitivity=0/3
          Retry:on
          Encryption key:3132-3334-35   Security mode:open
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality:54/94  Signal level:-41 dBm  Noise level:-96 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:9  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0
So an on-drone script can be used to monitor the AP's signal and choose a strongest one to connect (via "iwconfig" command).

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by bimo2700mf » 01 Jan 2011, 04:19

headinthetrees wrote:Has anyone used 2 or more routers in ad-hoc mode to extend the signal range of the drone?

My problem is this, I just bought ~40 acres of land (I know, big problem, right?) While everything else, water, power, roadwork, cabin, had to come first, I'm finally getting the network setup. So far I've got about 15% blanketed in wifi. I plan to expand this considerably. There are any number of reasons for doing it, convenience, automation, security, geekdom. Eventually I'd like to be able to fly a drone all over the property (and beyond!) without losing control. Is it possible for the drone to hop between different ap's?

I will probably not be controlling this via any apple products on a regular basis, so a linux solution is what I'm after.

Also floating in the back of my head was an auto-tracking directional wifi antenna mounted on the cabin that would follow the ar.drone's flight path and help ensure better signal. I'm thinking servo's connected to an arduino board then using signal strength (and possibly gps) to track. I realize the weak link in this would be the radio coming from the drone, but at least if it lost communication you might get off a UDP "come back" packet.

Let's hear your ideas for some real range on these things so I can get amped on buying one instead of a new tv. My next step is the pepper spray mod =)
i made simple tutorial How to Extend AR Drone Wifi Range in another thread here http://www.ardrone-flyers.com/forum/vie ... 5594#p5594

maybe can help people who want to fly AR Drone 100 - 150 meter more from the standard range

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by Walter » 05 Jan 2011, 00:26

What is Ad-hoc mode?

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by murdock » 05 Jan 2011, 10:47

its works with routers too, i got this router and bougth and strong antenna, and it´s take 200-300 meters en the street and 500, in a free space, before the video staring slow,i can take more distance if i put some panels to make the signal stronger to one way
there is my router.
Image

sorry for my english :)

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by Walter » 12 Jan 2011, 01:19

How does it work? does it help your phone/ipod pick up the drone's signal?

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Markus Unread
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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by Markus Unread » 03 Sep 2011, 03:49

Meh. Firmware 1.7.4 broke ARAutoconnect.
Last edited by Markus Unread on 13 Sep 2011, 22:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by Neuromant » 13 Sep 2011, 18:23

Why using wifi, anyway? There is an RC upgrade available, which makes the controlling distance 150 meters, but even that can probably be extended if you attach a larger antenna to the remote.
And by the way, as someone pointed out earlier, Drone is just a toy, but there are several other UAVs on sale, eg Draganflyer, which might simply have longer range than Drone

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by Schlauncha » 13 Sep 2011, 18:30

I have flown past 1000 feet (measured by GPS) using the RC mod from ssgtmacguyver on eBay, I still have not found the range limit. The aircraft was a plane, but it was using the radio and receiver of the RC Mod, just plugging servos in instead of using its data cable for the drone. Stands to reason that what aircraft it is mounted in, would have little effect on the range of the same radio system, same exact one, not "same kind".

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Re: Ad-hoc "mesh" network to extend drone's range?

Post by CaroDrone » 13 Sep 2011, 19:42

The goal is to fly the drone by long range FPV for not a to high price :P and the rc mod dont provide out of LOS control like FPV would...And anyway if i would wanna fly a RC controlled flying machine i would get something more powerful :P But to fpv those stuff it cost about 2000$ cash :P

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