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Range of drones

31 March 2021 by 0 Comments

When the moment comes to decide to buy a drone, we have to make a decision based on many parameters. One of the most important factors is the communication between the remote control and the drone. This is for practical rather than security reasons. There are currently two types of commercial systems on DJI's range: the WiFi and OcuSync systems, both of which can be operated safely, as DJI drones can return to the take-off point independently in case of signal loss.

If so, why is signal strength so important?
The farther we can fly, with the more stable signal transmission, the more opportunities open up for us.



Wi-Fi
The previous Phantom series, Spark, the first generation Mavic Air and the Mavic Mini also use this connection. In the beginning, Phantoms only worked at 2.4 Ghz frequency, later models also supported 5.8 Ghz, but what does this mean in practice?

Due to its propagation properties, the 2.4 Ghz frequency is more suitable for achieving a longer range, but there are cases when it is still a disadvantage. Most household WiFi routers also use this, so in urban environments there is a greater chance that these beacons will interfere with communication with our drone. In these cases, I recommend using the 5.8 Ghz band, which is more disadvantageous for increasing the range in terms of its spread, but can still provide a more stable connection due to the smaller environmental "WiFi noise". Knowing these, it is perhaps understandable why our range with WiFi devices drops drastically in a noisier environment.

OcuSync
DJI's OcuSync technology offers a solution to the above-mentioned difficulties, which, like WiFi, operates at 2.4, 5.8Ghz frequency, but with a self-developed encoding. These units are less likely to be disturbed by other devices, so they provide a much more stable connection even outside urban and residential areas.

OcuSync was first introduced in the Mavic Pro, which made it possible to see the live image in 1080p (Full HD) resolution instead of the usual 720p (HD). Later, Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom introduced the second generation of OcuSync, which provides Full HD live images from a distance of up to a thousand meters. Currently, the entire current range is equipped with this system, so even in the case of the lower categories, we do not have to make compromises regarding the range.



USA/EU: did you know?
Different markets create different needs and opportunities. This is how it can happen that the same drone that we normally fly with at home can cover a greater distance in the land of possibilities. The explanation for this is simple, in accordance with the regulations of the given region, the device provides us with the greatest possible range. For this reason, we may come across different data depending on whether we read the product description of a European or American distributor.

What does all this mean in practice?
We carried out some tests where we tried to place the machines in particularly unfavorable situations in order to see clearly. OcuSync 2.0 clearly demonstrated its advantage over WiFi in all situations, which is most visible in an urban environment. We started the flight from the parking lot of DJI ARS Budapest, where the proximity of the DunaTower, other office buildings, high-voltage transformer houses and the Árpád Bridge had their effect. The first-generation Mavic Mini lost contact between 60 and 100 meters each time, while the Mini 2 flew the 700-900 meter distance without any problems.

We also performed the same test under ideal conditions, outside a residential area. The difference can be seen here as well, but we obtained less different results. The Mini with WiFi fulfilled the promised range of two thousand meters, while the Mini 2 wanted to return home after a little more than five thousand meters.



When it was released, even the professional class was amazed at the performance of OcuSync 2.0. Thanks to the fact that it was also available in the entry-level category, we no longer need to buy Pro machines if we want to enjoy this stability, but do not need the video/photo performance of the top category. We look forward to where further developments will lead and what the next steps will be.

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