Telemetry and HD video over 4G

I am successfully using a 4G LTE network connection to send bidirectional telemetry AND HD (1280X1024 / 25fps) Video from my drones.  The video is perfect, the telemetry is perfect - regardless of range (assumes 4G is available).  I use my cell phone as a hotspot and connect using MISSION PLANNER on my laptop. The video is "snow free" and is viewed  on CHROME or FireFox browsers. 

The cost of all the equipment is under $100, but I do have to pay for a data plan ($15-$50/month) - and a small monthly amount for server time. The server setup is special to allow for the 4G<->4G connection.  The telemetry data is encrypted, the video data is not (at this time, anyway).  The system camera is non-standard but tiny.I can control the drone with a joystick connected through Mission Planner.  The latency is 0.8 seconds - max. The total weight of the system is 100 grams.  No equipment other than a computer running Mission Planner is needed on the "ground side" (except for a cell phone or other hot-spot).

I was thinking that others could use my setup as well. In that case I would have to set up multiple accounts on the server and manage them.  Before I take this any further -

Would anyone else be interested in the setup I have?

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  • yes i am. I am trying to build a quad or tricopter with unlimited range
  • I have changed my setup a bit.  I have never used any special software like Mavproxy or PiMavlink or anything like that.  I just run normal telemetry through a RPi 3A or 4 and use the Raspberry to connect to Verizon or T-Mobile, and then use SER2NET and LogMeIn HAMACHI  as well as webRTC (for the video) in the Raspberrry.  Hamachi is a free VPN service that also handles all the ip address conflicts. On the ground, I run Hamachi and the video can be handled by any browser (except IE).  But I also use a TEENSY on both ends to give me redundancy.  I SEND data in parallel (4G & 915MHz) on both ends, but I RECEIVE only from the one with the best signal as determined by timeouts and CRCs. Of course, when I fail over to 915, I can no longer get streaming video.  But at least I can get telemetry.  The whole setup is a little complicated, but does work.  I'm working to simplify it.

    I also needed to control over 4G / 915 MHz and the Logitech Joystick method is clumsy.  So I 3D printed a small enclosure and inside put a 2.4Ghz receiver (that matches my hand-held remote) and a TEENSY 2.5 programmed as a 6 channel analog, 2 digital channel joystick.  I plug that into my laptop (which also provides power) and I can  wirelessly control my flyers with REAL joysticks, and a 6 position MODE switch.


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  • I use a twin card to my Iphone, does not cost extra, use zerotier free, px4 mini, raspberry pi 2 + camera V2.

    Grounstation PC + PS3 joysik windows 10 Mission planner with Gsteamer (2018 version). bitrate 1500

    Rpi plays h264 HD 740p h264  bitrate 1500000 fps 30 via netcat. Mission planner use gstreamer h264parse and decode. video is lagging less than 500 ms 

    Rpi use ser2net seial server 57600 


  • Charles

    So I take it you have jist compiled the Mavlink stuff from the ardupilot page and trying to make a distro package?

    I help Marc with His Disco mod and am going to start a Pi zero on Chibios but very intrested to see if you got this off the ground like Bernt Egeland has managed to do when he demonstrated the Mavlink patch in 2012. He now has a Pi distro that works and sells it.

    Did you get off the ground? And what are you doing diffrent to the docs on ardupilot?



    Linquist said:

    It says I need dji stuff.  I have my own products, and nothing is dji.

    Telemetry and HD video over 4G
    I am successfully using a 4G LTE network connection to send bidirectional telemetry AND HD (1280X1024 / 25fps) Video from my drones.  The video is pe…
  • I'm definitely interested!
  • It says I need dji stuff.  I have my own products, and nothing is dji.

  • With the help of FlytGCS, you can do the same. Check once and please share your feedback. It will help. 

    Remote Drone Operations Simplified
    FlytGCS is a Cloud based drone software for remote operations. Exclusively built for Subject Matter Experts, Drone Operation Managers and Operators.
  • Hi,

     I'm building a fleet of Arduboats (say 15 Nos) running latest Arduboat firmware on Pixhawk FC. 

    The problem is to connect all those 15 pixhawk boats to a single ground station through an internet connection.

    I suggest that your setup for telemetry via internet is the best for me and look forward to learn about your setup in detail.

    Please respond to me on here or at ( or (+94 077 841 2740) whatsapp available.

    *Completing the project on time is a vital task hence this is Urgent. Highly appreciate your help.



  • A couple of things: 

    Are you sending streaming video, or just telemetry/control?

    One thing comes to mind - If you are using a MiFi, you should be using a hard-wired connection.  Relying on yet another WiFi link is probably not a good idea.  I like to keep the number of links to a minimum.  I'm using a Pantech 925 USB device that appears as an Ethernet port to a Linux device (Raspberry pi). 

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