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communication:examples

# Practicality of using 2.4GHz 802.11 wifi from a balloon payload

(its legality is another thing)

The use of 802.11 wifi is probably the fist thing that people think about when designing a balloon payload for the first time. So what sort of distances could be achieved? Well it depends upon the qualities of the transmitter, receiver and antennas.

Assuming:

• A Transmitter power of about 15dBm (about 30mW) – typical for most wifi routers.
• Payload antenna gain is 0dBi (omni-directional)
• A Large ground station antenna of 24dBi (e.g. 3ft diameter dish)
• The slowest wi-fi speed (1Mbps) – which gives the greatest range
• 1Mbps receive sensitivity is between -91dbm (average) and -96dbm (very good) for a (borderline) 10% PER (Packet Error Rate).

This gives a maximum path loss of between:

`15 + 0 + 24 + 91 = 130dB`

and

`15 + 0 + 24 + 96  = 136dB`

Which at 2.4GHz equates to a distance of between 32 and 63Km depending on receiver

# Practicality of using 2.4GHz FM TV from a balloon payload

Licence exempt FM TV modules running in the 2.4GHz band are readily available in the UK for CCTV application – & what's more this band is explicitly allowed to used used in airborne TV applications. So what sort of distances can be achieved?

Assuming:

• A Transmitter power of about 10dBm (about 10mW – all that is allowed).
• Payload antenna gain is 0dBi (omni-directional)
• A Large ground station antenna of 24dBi (e.g. 3ft diameter dish)
• A receiver sensitivity of between -85dB (average) -91db (very good) for a (borderline) 10db video signal to noise ratio.

This gives a maximum path loss of between:

`10 + 0 + 24 + 85 = 119db`

and

`10 + 0 + 24 + 91 = 125dB`

Which at 2.4GHz equates to a distance of between 9 and 18Km depending on receiver

The use of bigger antenna dishes would result in longer distances – as a general rule doubling the dish diameter will double the workable distance.