Sergei Zobov | Blog Software and robotics engineer

GSM and altitude


Why do we need GSM?

There are several ways to communicate with a flying copter, like a radio telemetry, Wi-Fi, or GSM. Actually, all of them are different kinds of a radio, but with it’s own characteristics, like frequency, range and bandwidth. In our UAV project we need to transfer a huge amount of data on a long distance. And, yes, the Wi-Fi is a very good choice, because it can work on the long distance, but I don’t think it will work beyond visual line of sight. GSM could, but I wasn’t sure, that it will work on a height about 60-70 meters as well as on the ground, so I’ve checked it.


We are using iRZ RL01w router, because it has 4G and Wi-Fi in a one case and without this case it’s lightweight. I’ve tested this router with the two famous Russian mobile operators MTS and MegaFon. The experiment occurs in a small town. There was iperf client of copter and server, exposed on our office machine.

Here is the plots of result:




It’s ain’t much but it’s honest work

Yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s not representative example, because the small altitude, the network coverage and the another things, which could affect the bandwidth, but I hope I’ll provide more interesting data soon. Till this moment, I can definitely say, that under 70 meters, bandwidth doesn’t severely decreases.