You should respect the local flight regulations and keep your drone within your visual line of sight at all times.
How does ANAFI’s Wi-Fi connection system work?
ANAFI was conceived keeping the user in mind at all times. One of the key factors was to offer an unparalleled flight experience with the best Wi-Fi connection between the drone and controller. Our engineers integrated a dual-band antenna in each drone leg, providing an omnidirectional transmission system. Thus resulting in a 360° signal range.
Fig 1. Emission pattern of ANAFI
Thanks to the omnidirectional system, you can pilot your drone no matter what direction it is facing. When flying in optimal conditions, using Parrot Skycontroller 3, pilots can fly at a distance of up to 2.5 miles (4 km).
To provide you with the best flight experience, we used the Wi-Fi 802.11 standards (compatible with all smartphones) that we combined with advanced algorithms, enhancing connectivity between your drone and Parrot Skycontroller 3. The controller’s antennas are located in the smartphone holder; an optimal choice from both a design and connectivity perspective, as the antennas automatically point towards the drone.
Additionally, ANAFI features a smart interference avoidance system. The drone is able to detect interferences on its operating frequency, switching to less polluted channels, helping reduce disturbances and preventing signal loss.
What do I need to know about Wi-Fi channels?
The transmission distance depends on the country in which you’re flying your drone. Each country allows a maximum emission power and a list of available channels. Most countries no longer enable you to select a different location, so we decided to remove this feature in FreeFlight 6.
We’ve set the drone and controller to deliver maximum authorized emission power (keeping in mind the capacity of ANAFI and Parrot Skycontroller 3), depending on your location.
For reference, below are the authorized bands and the estimated power delivered by the drone and controller.
The power delivered is directly linked to the expected transmission range. For example, when you’re using the 2.4GHz band, the US mode authorizes 6 more decibels than the EU mode, translating in a theoretical gain of 100% in transmission range.
ANAFI is able to communicate on either the 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz bands. By default, the frequency set is the 2.4 Ghz band because the signal propagation is better and it can be used in all countries. The 5 Ghz band is generally less used, thus providing better transmission results in some cases.
How should I choose the right Wi-Fi channel?
The quality of the Wi-Fi link strongly depends on the channel occupation rate. As mentioned earlier, ANAFI features an automatic interference avoidance system based on a frequency-hopping algorithm. It can be activated either on a single frequency band or on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. In this mode, the interferences are automatically detected and the system switches to another channel on its own.
The channel selection can also be done manually in the network settings; you can change the frequency band and the channel in which ANAFI is communicating. The occupation rate of the available channels, as well as their transmission power, is displayed to help you choose a less saturated one.
Fig 2. Network settings with manual selection of the channel
Here are some indications to help you choose the best settings:
- You can reach the maximum range in 2.4 GHz, which is why we advise to stay on this band by default.
- The 5 GHz band provides good results for short distance flights. If your drone is less than 500m away from you and there are no obstacles in the area, selecting “ALL” is a good idea as there are more channels available.
How do I optimize the connection with the drone?
In order to have an optimal connection while piloting ANAFI with Parrot Skycontroller 3 you should position both devices in a certain direction. The connection is ensured by the antennas of both devices, which emit and receive on a specific spatial plan and direction. The guidelines below show how to optimize your connection:
1.Keep your controller in the direction of the drone. The antennas of both the drone and controller emit wave frequencies in a specific direction. As the antenna is directional, the best results can be reached only when the two emission zones meet. This explains why the signal might be weaker when your drone is behind you.
Fig 3. Zones of emission of the drone and the controller
2. Fly in an interference free area. Parrot Skycontroller 3 plays an even more important role in terms of connectivity than the drone itself. For an optimal flight, the controller should be located away from any other source of interferences (other Wi-Fi controllers, Wi-Fi boxes, cell phone towers, large metallic structures…).
Fig 4. The importance of flying in interferences-free areas
3. Activate the airplane mode on your smartphone. Signals received and sent can scramble the connectivity between ANAFI and its controller.
4. Fly in an unobstructed area where there are no buildings, trees, or any other obstacles between Parrot Skycontroller 3 and the drone. When flying close to obstacles, the emission zone might contain hindrances that cause signal losses. For example, the diagram below illustrates that the drone at a higher altitude will be able to fly further and have a better connection because the emission zone of Parrot Skycontroller 3 is obstacle free.
Fig 4: Comparison between an obstructed and unobstructed area
5. Fly your drone at higher altitudes*. As mentioned earlier, the maximum transmission range is reached at higher altitudes. If your drone is far and too close to the ground, the emission zone of the controller might include the ground, creating interferences. To give you an idea, the maximum distance that can be reached is doubled when flying at an altitude of 50m in comparison to an altitude of 20m *.
Fig 5: The impact of a low altitude on the transmission range
6. Pilot from an elevated position. To obtain the maximum range on ANAFI, you need to pilot from a high position with no ground in front of you. In this situation, you will obtain the strongest emission power possible.
Fig 6: Optimal situation to get the higher transmission range
Why do I sometimes get Wi-Fi alerts even when my drone is close by?
You may receive two types of Wi-Fi alerts:
- Poor or very poor Wi-Fi connection: In this case, the drone is either too far away or the controller is not oriented in the right direction. It is also possible that the signal is weak due to destructive ground reflection, if you’re not flying at a high altitude. Follow the tips given earlier in this article to be sure you always have the best connection possible.
Fig 8. Weak and very weak Wi-Fi alerts
- Too many interferences: Unfortunately, there’s no wait out of this. You can opt for an area with limited sources of interferences. Common interferers are; your smartphone, other drone pilots with controllers (in this case distance yourself from them), an urban zone with many Wi-Fi boxes, LTE base stations etc. You can also try to change the channel manually as explained earlier.
Fig 9. Strong interferences alert
The alerts are displayed at the bottom of the screen of your smartphone, as shown in the screenshots above. If the alert is yellow, the transmission issue is minor and you should retrieve transmission quickly, especially if you follow all the guidelines given in this article. If the alert displayed is red, you should bring your drone closer and/or change your flight location to a place with fewer interferers. However, if your drone happens to disconnect, the RTH (Return to Home) will be automatically take over, bringing ANAFI to its take-off position.
We hope you enjoy flying ANAFI and make the most of its enhanced transmission system to take stunning photographs shot from the sky.
*You should follow the guidelines of how to fly your drone safely on parrot.com. You should respect the local flight regulations and keep your drone within your visual line of sight at all times.