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Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300 (actually SR300). 
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Joined: 23 Aug 2011, 08:38
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New post Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300 (actually SR300).
Going to bang this out in a bit of a hurry so I'll be coming back to edit in any requested info.

Finally got a chance to do a free-space range extension test using an Amped SR300 WiFi repeater.
The SR300 is a standard store&forward repeater. Main and Extended networks are on the same channel but use different ESSID's.
It has a full-power, two antenna diversity radio with a very sensitive LNA (Low Noise Amplifier) for reaching out and picking up fringe AP's and devices.
It also has the standard RSMA connectors for the antennas in case you want to use directional external antennas.
The code running in the SR300 is a bit tweaky as far as its ability reconnect bridged networks upon power up. Other repeaters may do this better, but the SR300 is what I had to test with.

First, the test setup.
The test was run with an unmodified AR.AR.Drone running 1.7.4 and an Amped Wireless SR300 with an adapter power cable allowing it to run off of a Zippy 11.1V LiPo battery. Obviously, it could be run off the included AC adapter, a 12V auto power cable, or whatever. The measured operating current draw from the battery was 160mA, but current draw will vary depending on the radio's adaptive transmit power level. 160mA is probably a good ballpark figure to stay with.

The Amped with the LiPo and adapter cable.
Image

For the ranging test the Amped was stuck onto a tripod at 1.2 meters (4 ft) off the ground. The antennas were oriented in a V pattern to give reasonable gain in both horizontal and vertical polarization. The controller, a Galaxy Tab 7, was located ~8 meters away from the Amped in the opposite direction from the AR.Drone.
Image

AR.Drone on a stick.
The AR.AR.Drone was placed on the end of a PVC pipe extending from the rear of a car. The plastic standoff extends 2 meters and is used to reduce reflections or interference by the metal auto body. I used a car instead of flying the AR.Drone because I'm lazy and the AR.Drone is too small and non-reflective to get a positive range lock from a laser rangefinder. The car is plenty big and reflective to the IR laser.
Image

Running the AR.AR.Drone facing away (antenna side toward the repeater) the video feed from the AR.Drone remained up and stable out to 405 meters (445 yards, 1335 ft).
This is line-of-sight - put trees and building in the way and all bets are off.
Not bad for an unmodified AR.AR.Drone!

The following shows the setup screens for the Amped SR300/AP300.

Step 1: Connect to the SR300 using the included instructions. You will see this.
Image
Hit NEXT.

Turn on your AR.AR.Drone and let it boot up (leds green). *It has to be running 1.7.4 or greater and look like an AP to WiFi devices*

Step 2: Scan for the AR.AR.Drone SSID. Select it and hit NEXT.
Image

Step 3: Leave Key field blank. Hit NEXT.
Image

Step 4: Make up a name for the extended AR.Drone network, it will be what SSID you connect to with your WiDevice running the AR.Drone control software. Use or remove any password that you want for the extended network. Hit NEXT.
Image

The SR300 will reconfigure itself and you will be able to connect to the extended network and run the AR.AR.Drone flight program.

Happy extended flying!


Last edited by Markus Unread on 18 Jan 2012, 08:49, edited 3 times in total.



14 Dec 2011, 09:27
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
This is stunning!

Does this also solve the delayed or intermitent communication between the iphone/IOS device and the AR.Drone?
ie does it make the connection better/stronger? I have trouble with my AR.Drone being responsive/receiving commands/being twitchy over about 10 meters.

Costs?

Would this be a suitable upgrade instead of going RC controller?

Thanks,

Scottie.


15 Dec 2011, 01:28
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
Interesting.

Just trying to visualize/understand your test setup. You have the repeater on a tripot, receiving control commands from your iDev and stores the control command temporary and then re-transmit the control command. the ardrone, mounted outside your car receives control commands from the repeater and react to the control command. The video from the ardrone goes back the the iDev the same way. In this test setup, where is the iDev located?

Also, are both devices (iDev and ardrone) on the same network? Or, is one device on the main network and the other device on the extended network?

The max distance the ardrone from the repeater was 405 meters. If that's the case, then the max flying range could double that (~800 meters) if the repeater is located in the middle between your ardrone and the iDev. Would that be a reasonable assumption?


15 Dec 2011, 05:24
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
@flamshackle:
"Does this also solve the delayed or intermitent communication between the iphone/IOS device and the AR.Drone?"
The video stream is pretty consistent with occasional <1sec glitches until the AR.Drone starts to reach the outer edge of its range.

"ie does it make the connection better/stronger? I have trouble with my AR.Drone being responsive/receiving commands/being twitchy over about 10 meters."
That is exactly what the repeater is used for.

"Costs?"
The SR300 is $89 at Amazon/Newegg, $66 Ebay.

"Would this be a suitable upgrade instead of going RC controller?"
Some folks like the RC radio controller feel, and the narrow band 2.4GHz radios have much extended range. But the 802.11g repeater can get the extended reach while keeping the video feed and no mods to the AR.Drone.

------

@Candu:
"Just trying to visualize/understand your test setup. You have the repeater on a tripot, receiving control commands from your iDev and stores the control command temporary and then re-transmit the control command. the ardrone, mounted outside your car receives control commands from the repeater and react to the control command. The video from the ardrone goes back the the iDev the same way. In this test setup, where is the iDev located?"

Ah, I forgot that part! The iDev was ~8 meters away from the repeater, in the opposite direction of the AR.Drone.

"are both devices (iDev and ardrone) on the same network?" Or, is one device on the main network and the other device on the extended network?"
They are on different SSIDs, networks, on the same channel.

"Or, is one device on the main network and the other device on the extended network?"
Exactly. The AR.AR.Drone must be the main network because it is a hassle to make the AR.Drone connect to an Access Point. In this case it is the AP and the AP300 is translating that network traffic to the extended network.

"The max distance the ardrone from the repeater was 405 meters. If that's the case, then the max flying range could double that (~800 meters) if the repeater is located in the middle between your ardrone and the iDev. Would that be a reasonable assumption?"
Yes. Also, the repeater can be placed where it's line-of-sight to the AR.Drone but the iDev is not.


Last edited by Markus Unread on 23 Jan 2012, 11:54, edited 2 times in total.



15 Dec 2011, 07:26
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
wow!! This is a stunning solution to the range and inconsistent commands reception...

Have you done much flight testing with this yet? is there a small lag because it is running through an intermediate device?

Sorry for the noob question but obviously in the costs are ALSO the lipo battery to run the router the conversion cable to the router?

I just have to weigh up the cost vs the RC controller solution as I really inconstant control with my AR.Drone.

You should put together a kit and sell it! router/instructions/conversion cable and lipo...


15 Dec 2011, 21:35
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
@flamshackle:
"Have you done much flight testing with this yet? is there a small lag because it is running through an intermediate device?"

Not yet. The weather here has been typically dreadful. Cold, wet, windy and wet. When we get a break I'll take it out for a run.

"Sorry for the noob question but obviously in the costs are ALSO the lipo battery to run the router the conversion cable to the router?"

I made an assumption that people would already have batteries laying around. The AP300's switching power supply works fine with 7.4V and 11.1V batteries. The power fob it comes with is 12V and the power connector is a generic "center +" barrel power connector. I had that plug laying around after cutting it off to make an AC adapter to run an AR.AR.Drone while doing software stuff. In other words, many people have the connectors laying around. They are also available at places like Radio Snack.
If you need it, I can look up sources for the individual part across the 'net.

"I just have to weigh up the cost vs the RC controller solution as I really inconstant control with my AR.Drone.
You should put together a kit and sell it! router/instructions/conversion cable and lipo..."


Ugh. Selling kits would not be my first choice. I'd have to throw in a LiPo charger with the battery. Like I said, many of the folks here already have most of the parts - minus the SR300.


Last edited by Markus Unread on 23 Jan 2012, 12:00, edited 1 time in total.



16 Dec 2011, 01:21
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
This means I can go back to my flying setup back in April where I was using an access point to extend the flying range.

I had my iTouch mounted on top of the AP and the AP was powered by my spare Lipo, with an adopter cable similar to yours.

http://www.ardrone-flyers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9688#p9688

I was getting about 100 meters flying range. I was using ARAutoConnect which makes automatic connection to the AP if the AP is on. I used this setup for the longest time until I had to upgrade from 1.4.7 to 1,5.x to take advantage of the new features.

Would be interested in your flight test to see if there are noticeable delays in control.

Can't fly here in the winter months either...


16 Dec 2011, 03:18
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
This is awesome! I see you are using an access point but can't I get a repeater like the sr10000 which is also by amped?


29 Dec 2011, 04:40
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
Just for clarification, were you using the AP300 or the SR300? The AP300 is listed as an access point on Amazon, but both are the same price.


29 Dec 2011, 15:22
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
HI, new to this forum. I'm interested in your repeater setup, but not familiar with several of the "terms" used. What is the iDev device mentioned by Candu? is that the tablet? I know this is now a year-old post but I don't see where there has been any update providing any real flight time data/observations. What has happened with this setup in the past year? Thanks D


15 Jan 2012, 14:54
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New post Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
From re-reading the topic I would say the iDev is an iOS device like an iPhone, iPad or an iPod Touch.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


15 Jan 2012, 15:37
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
Thanks, Symon


15 Jan 2012, 15:57
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300.
cvwood wrote:
Just for clarification, were you using the AP300 or the SR300? The AP300 is listed as an access point on Amazon, but both are the same price.


Amped has an ambiguous Manual and ROM - It is actually an SR300 repeater even though the manual and FW shows as AP300.
Sorry.
I'll update the thread.


18 Jan 2012, 08:45
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300 (actually SR3
Thanks for clearing that up!

I'll be ordering and reporting shortly.....


19 Jan 2012, 06:28
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New post Re: Wifi repeater range extension. Amped AP300 (actually SR3
This is a great post, thanks for trying that!

Not sure if this got covered somewhere else, but some of you may be interested by a cheaper and/or more powerful solution (although 400+ meters seems more than reasonable for a device with such a limited battery life).

Have a look into DD-WRT or OPENWRT. They are replacement firmware, with linux as the back end, for many wireless access point. Some of these can be found in for around $20 used on Kijiji or other web sites. You might even have one collecting dust in your drawer!

You can look for supported devices here:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices

Setting up the router in repeater mode is relatively easy and well documented; maybe not as easy as a dedicated device, but reusing an old AP or using custom antennas might be worth the trouble. With hardware mods (like adding heat sink to the radio chip), it is also possible to crank up the transmission power above the factory default.

I certainly will setup one of my older routers for that when I buy my first AR.Drone!

cheers everyone.


25 Jan 2012, 23:35
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