Connect QGroundControl to drone without Wifi router

Hi everyone, I have been looking on this topic for a while now without finding a solution

I use Navio2+RP3A+. When I am at home with a wifi router, everything works perfectly. I can connect to the drone via QGC or APM using my mac book. I have configured the file at /etc/default/ardupilot with TELEM1="-A udp:" where is the IP of my laptop on the home wifi network. I can also ssh into the rp by writing ssh pi@ where is the IP of the rp on the home wifi network

The problem is when I’m on the field for testing … here I do not have any wifi router. I would like to connect directly to the drone (with GQC or APM or QGC on iPhone) but have no idea about how to configure both sides for that. Could you help me with the settings?

I want to use the default wifi module of the Raspberry just because I’m doing the calibration at the moment and the drone will fly at less than 30meters from me. So I don’t want to use a different telemetry module …

Thanks for any suggestion!

Configure your phone or computer as an access point and set the Navio to connect to it, or configure your Raspberry as an access point…

Emlid forum is a better place to find a solution

Hey. If you don’t want to configure your phone etc as access point, I’d suggest you to take a look at WiFi Peer-to-peer (P2P) or AdHoc.
I have used AdHoc to communicate between Raspberry Pi’s, but I know that most PC’s wireless adapters support AdHoc mode too.

Thanks for your replies! that means this is not a very typical problem … how do people connect to their drone when they are out on the field?

Suppose I use a wifi telemetry module. In that case how would I connect to the drone without a wifi router? I found portable wifi router on line at relatively low price. I think this will solve my problem by creating a network on the field, but there must be a more direct way.

@mlebret I have tried that. I wan’t able to configure my mac as access point and on the raspberry I have followed a really long configuration procedure but I couldn’t make it work. There should be an easier way …

Making RPi an AP is much easier with “RaspAP” take a look at it.
Telemetry modules bind each other, like transmitter and receiver. They work pretty much the same way.
Using an access point would mean more redirected connection, thus more latency.

Bluetooth. I gave up on the ESP module because I found the range to be iffy and once you fail to connect you basically have to reboot. I use HC-06 modules on all my drones - works a treat.

Thank you all for your help!

@Divisia I will have a look at RaspAP, never used it so far. thanks

@andyp1per but the range is even smaller with a Bluetooth right? For the HC-06 I read that it is about 30 feet. With a wifi module, for example, the ESP8266, I found some online tests where about 400m range was reached in horizontal in a city. For me, it would be enough to reach 250m point to point in free field, since the only thing I have to stream is telemetry data (monitoring drone status) and no video

So people say. I always got less range than my bluetooth and it was vastly more unreliable.

The bluetooth are low powered transmitters. HC 05 and 06. I have one of each mounted on my quads. Once set up they are very good. I can use MP at 57600baud and QGC. Windows 8.1. I believe that I loaded QGC on android tablet and that worked as well. Some while ago now. There has been no known interference between the rc and bluetooth. Co-habit well.
You need to think about where best to place the bluetooth unit. Not advisable to slide them between 2 pieces of carbon fibre board. Carbon props upset transmission. Absorbs microwaves.
You will not get a large distance though. Units are cheap and excellent for changing parameters or carry out your calibration or viewing the flight controllers going ons.
Read the wiki on bluetooth.

I’d like to add, ESP8266 and other similar hardware, IRL, will never give you 400m. Even these commercial modems that we use at home, specially designed to broadcast are giving us no more than 20m.

ESP8266 with 1.6W transmitter can give you that extra range. a usual cheap esp8266

properly mounted gives about of 50-80m. it is important for that embedded antenna to hang outside of the carbonfiber base in the air, that makes it work more or less ok. if it is placed flat on the carbon then range will suffer dramatically.

i cannot find a proper product anymore, it was on aliexpress somewhere, amazon will have only officially allowed 100mW ones, something like this one.

DJI mavic 2 actually uses a transmitter like that, with a max boost of 1.6W, normally operating at 0.6W that gives it 5 miles or so. radio tech is all the same, freq is same and it is all available on alibaba, you just need to search for it if you need that kind of a range. wi-fi mode will not give you 5 miles, of course, but should give considerably more than 400m.

you can also search here, in 500mA there are at least 4 options to use.

dunno, cannot find those with max power. this is one, i get if the 500mW - will also give a good range.

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I know that these nRF24’s are goot at long range transmission. What I didn’t know was they are shipped in different power modes!
I’ll buy couple of them to control my drone. As you might know, they work in pairs or groups, not like ESP8266

it may be easier to deal with one i sent a link from alibaba - the esp8266 variant using 500mW radio and an external antenna. it may work ‘as is’ with an existing flash. none of that is really challenging if you know how to compile that project, so, there are many choices.
the range difference between 1W and .5W radios is quite significant,so, it will require some research.

also, i think there are at least several youtubes on that topic trying to cover simpler esp8266 clones, but i do not think anybody did much about those hi power 1W and 1.6W models.

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I don’t know about compiling the project you have mentioned. May I ask you, are they using Arduino IDE to program or something like Atmel Studio?

I wanna be try some new things can we make a camera output like as a transmitter and 2nd module is like a receiver also capture osd data on q ground control ? It is happening ???

sorry, i have no idea.

Paul and others, what are you using these things for? Data rates?
If wifi do you set b,g or n?

I am using WiFi adapters for telemetry. I don’t own a video transmitter, so I broadcast my video feed through WiFi, combined with telemetry data.

As others have said, bluetooth (hc05 or hc06) is a very cheap and simple way to allow configuration in the field. I use QGC on an Android phone.
Alternately you can use 2 SiK radios (433 or 900 mHz) for longer range.

See my blog for how to connect/configure SiK radios and Bluetooth module (to F405-wing board).

Thanks. Did a little reading on the wifi. According to wiki the speed setting from the FC is less than 1Mbit/s. This I am going to assume is 802.11b which is spread spectrum. The g and n employ different techniques. My concern was that high power transmitters may have compatibility issues with the receiver at 2.4ghz. Possibly a reason the 433 and 900mhz bands are used. Spread spectrum is a good choice though for lower powered 2.4ghz telemetry.