We introduced Airstring to this community some weeks ago and we received a lot of feedback which has gone into the campaign and into the project itself.

Today we announce that the Airstring project is live on Kickstarter and you can reserve your own Airstring module to connect your drone to the internet using GSM technology

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/215849561/airstring-gsm-teleme...

Let's bring drones online!

Views: 1978


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on May 18, 2016 at 3:20am

I think this could be very useful for professional users. A bit expensive for hobby users.

what bands and modulations are supported? I assume you put in any carriers SIM card? What SIM size?

Comment by Jose Alberto Soler on May 18, 2016 at 3:35am

Andrew, like you said, we are targeting the professional market, although we have also gotten interest from hobby users. I am glad you find it useful!

We use a quadband modem (850/900/1800/1900Mhz bands), so it is compatible with all carriers and countries. Yes, you use a NanoSim


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on May 18, 2016 at 3:41am

the new 4G 700MHz band seems to be the ideal one in Australia at the moment (both Optus and Telstra are deploying in that band).

We use 4G in a couple of our aircraft now, but we do it via a companion computer. One problem we had is that carriers in Australia don't give out public IP addresses any more, so we needed to setup a VPN in order to get a telemetry link. That works well but is quite a bit of extra effort for users.

What routing strategy are you thinking of using? Would packets go via some of your own cloud servers, or do you have some other arrangement? Is it just MAVLink over UDP?

Comment by Jose Alberto Soler on May 18, 2016 at 3:53am

Andrew we currently don't support 4G, only GPRS.

Your approach is the best solution we could find, that is why we started developing Airstring, first for ourselves, then as a product.

Like you said, setting up a VPN is not ideal, but routing traffic from mobile devices and to mobile devices isn't easy either, very often IPs are not public and sometimes NAT tables are symmetric and pose many problems.

We want to make things as easy as possible, so we have a server with a domain name where both the Airstring air module and the Ground Control Station can access.

For users who don't want to depend on 3dr parties, we will also publish the server code and you can run the server yourself.

It is basically Mavlink over UDP with some changes to add information and configurations and to encrypt the data stream.

Comment by Paul Hammond on May 18, 2016 at 4:35am

"For users who don't want to depend on 3dr parties, we will also publish the server code and you can run the server yourself."

Perfect, i was worried about relying on 3rd party servers for the future.

Comment by Jose Alberto Soler on May 18, 2016 at 4:59am

Paul, Great! I'd like to credit Andre K. from DIYDrones for pointing out this issue.

Comment by Martin on May 18, 2016 at 5:22am

From my experience GPRS telemetry and Mission Planner do not get along. There timeouts built into MP are shorter than the latency of the GPRS connection.

Comment by Jose Alberto Soler on May 18, 2016 at 5:44am

Martin thanks for your advice. We haven't had any problems yet and we have tested Airstring for hours and in different environments. The delay is indeed high but the connection is stable both in Mission Planner and Tower :)


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 18, 2016 at 7:29am

Can that module send and receive text messages, too?

Comment by Jose Alberto Soler on May 18, 2016 at 7:41am

Hello Chris, I sent you a tweet before. Yes, it can send and receive SMS and also make phone calls. We actually built another application using SMS on the same module.

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