Wireless Broadband Solutions for Unmanned Aerial Systems

State-of-the-art MIMO for long range video streaming

Doodle Labs has an extensive portfolio of wireless building blocks developed specifically with the UAS application in mind. Its research is focused on leveraging the benefits of COFDM and MIMO technology to address the inherent RF challenges that unmanned aerial systems face. As a part of this effort, Doodle Labs has developed a set of UAS-focused features within its BII™ software stack that extend the flyer’s communication range and supports Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) operations. 

With all the opportunities and challenges faced by UAS manufacturers, there is a strong need in the industry for the following features:

  • Minimal Size, Weight, and Power Consumption (SWaP). Flight times are directly correlated to the power consumed by the system. Every millimeter and gram needs to be accounted for, and components should only be consuming power to the extent that they are being used.
  • Long-Range, Beyond Line of Site Communication. Many unmanned systems have the ability to fly many kilometers away and across objects that impede direct line of sight, requiring data links that can do the same.
  • Command & Control and Sensor Data on a Single Link. The uplink connection to the vehicle needs to be highly reliable with low latency to send command and control information, while the downlink requires up to 20 Mbps of UDP throughput for streaming sensor data such as 4K video.
  • Encryption and Immunity against Cyber Attacks. Public Safety, Defense, and many Commercial applications transmit highly sensitive data. Communications must be secure and the vehicles must be protected from unintended parties gaining access.
  • Ease of Integration. Unmanned systems have unique, complex architectures and require communication solutions with a variety of interfaces and plug-and-play abilities to minimize time and effort spent on integration.
  • Licensed and Unlicensed-Band Operation. International and Defense customers have access to special frequency bands. UAS manufacturers need the ability to communicate in each of these frequencies without needing to redesign their system for each new project.
  • Mesh Networking. Wide area surveillance and multi-vehicle applications require advanced networking, including self-forming and self-healing mesh.

Download this Solution Note to understand how these requirements are met using Doodle Labs radios.

Views: 1041

Comment by Thomas Butler on January 18, 2019 at 7:57pm

Hate these blatant advertisement posts with virtually no application information. After all, this is Do-It-Yourself-Drones.

FYI MIMO means Multiple Input Multiple Output. I.e., can transmit/receive on three channels (streams) concurrently.

From what I have gathered:

One model I looked a NO-DB-2t: a 2x2 MIMO WiFi module in miniPCIe form factor (30x50mm) WiFi module with miniPCIe interface available at Mouser Electronics for $125 (rugged "military use") in quantity of 50. 40MB bandwidth.Use to stream 4K video (or lower data rate/resolution) using UDP. Range about 5km(?) This is only one example on Mouser.Note that these are industrial grade components and probably out of the scope of use by DIYDrones folks.

Uses QCA9590-BR4B from Qualcom Atheros or similar chipset. Derived from Atheros AR9590 Airport Extreme used in Mac Pro.

Another tidbit; 3x3 MIMO for $22 on AliExpress for similar using advanced Atheros QCA9880 chipset here!

This would be used on a Raspberry PI clone that has a miniPCIe slot or similar "'companion computer" like Hummingboard, or Pine H64, or some other custom video streaming setup....

Note has FAA mandated RF kill switch! (and since would be used as control link too, gives FAA a back-door way to easily kill your drone)

Note there are numerous miniPCIe WiFi cards available for less than $50. Note that these are NOT industrial grade and typically short range RF(200ft) like what is found in a laptop computer...

Hope this info is of interest! It is NOT exhaustive, and I challenge other folks to add some more info...

Amazing how some people think we do NOT have Internet!

Happy flying!

Comment by Kaan Göksal on January 26, 2019 at 8:48am

What do you mean by FAA mandated RF Kill switch? Can you elaborate on that? Also where did you see that?

Comment by Thomas Butler on January 26, 2019 at 8:19pm

FAA mandated RF Kill switch is stated in numerous places. However, to stay in context just look at the "Solution Note" for which there is a link in this blog post; an attribute of the Doodle Labs products is "Hardware “RF Kill” feature to meet the FAA requirement for airborne applications".

Comment by Jay Parikh on January 26, 2019 at 11:11pm

The FAA requires a "hardware" to instantly shutoff the radio emissions (software control does not meet the requirements). Our radios and transceivers provide this function as we supply into numerous airborne applications.

However, I am not sure if this requirement applies to the drone application.

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