Nowadays cellular networks offer very fast connection and have very high coverage of the territory and in most countries areas out of coverage are uncommon. So, I would assume a drone that use cellular network would solve many of the poor signal issues for FPV and telemetry in long range scenario compared to direct Wi-Fi protocols that with low transmission power regulation are very limited unless you are in open areas with little interferences.

For this reason, I'm wondering if cellular network is just not much explored for this use case only for the need of a support provider and incur costs, or there are also other technical reasons that I missed.


1 Answer 1


The primitive answer is latency and data stability. FPV machines have stick to reaction latencies in the tens of milliseconds, and similar, or even less in the camera feed. Moving the stick to seeing the reaction on the camera happens in less than 20ms. This is absolutely not possible on an LTE network, so the machines would be very low performance.

Stability issues mean you need to be able to drop many frames and the aircraft needs to be able to sustain itself. Again, fine for long range missions and aircraft that can fly themselves, but not for higher performance aircraft.

The more modern answer is expense and implementation. An entire protocol has to be devised to send control data one way, and video data the other way, over LTE modems. This is absolutely possible (I've seriously been considering the idea for years now), but LTE modems are hard to find as a consumer, and the protocol that has to be devised will require a significant amount of work. It won't just plug into betaflight as is


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