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Vision+ WiFi Booster Apps Compared

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by cahutch, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. cahutch

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    There seems to be alot of confusion about the different WiFi booster apps.
    I originally wrote this in another thread but thought it deserved it's own thread to better inform everyone.
    Also, I did some testing with both apps and those results will be in the second post below.

    First, Respect to both developers. Both apps work as advertised, I have nothing negative to say about either one and I own both.

    The two apps are developed separately, they do basically the same thing, and are competing with each other.

    "FPV Booster for Vision+" (from PVFlyer) is $8.99 on iOS, $8.77 on Android. It's an automatic WiFi signal booster with no additional features yet.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fpv-boo ... 13138?mt=8
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ster&hl=en
    FPV Booster is one touch, one button, no bells and whistles. You tap the button that says Boost Up! and you're done.
    The author claims that in addition to simply increasing signal strength it "equips with an interference control algorithm. It boosts extra 50% FPV range with the same Wifi power ... especially in urban area."
    What it appears to do is set the WiFi TX power at the optimum values for the best possible range. Not necessarily the maximum values. See below for testing results.

    "Vision+ Utility" (from ocatcr) is $2.99 on iOS, $11.60 on Android. It's a WiFi signal booster with added features that gives you manual control of TX power levels.
    It allows you to control the TX power on the Phantom and the Range Extender individually.
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vision+ ... 18291?mt=8
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ypro&hl=en
    It's not as simple to use since you have to select the range extender or Phantom, one at a time, and manually choose what power level you want to set it to from 4bBm to 20dBm
    It also allows you to add encryption to your range extender link to keep out other people.
    The Android version now has data logging so it can record your flight telemetry and they've just added CH7 pitch control.
    The iOS version has yet to be updated with the data logging feature or pitch control. Maybe next week.
    And note the price difference above. I'm sure it will be a new (pro) version on iOS that you'll have to buy again at a higher price.

    For a "do it yourself" method of boosting WiFi power, check out this thread and you'll see what these apps are doing. viewtopic.php?f=27&t=17704
    See below for a simple test I ran using a WiFi scanner to compare power output and channel information.
     
  2. cahutch

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    Warning, this will get a bit technical

    I used InSSIDer v2.1.6 on a Lenovo Notebook with a Realtek 11b/g/n Wireless card
    This was an informal test, in my kitchen with only a few feet distance from the Phantom and Range Extender, so there was no doubt mutipathing and other factors that make consistent measurements impractical.

    First a short Primer.
    There are two wireless networks involved.
    The first is the Phantom's wireless signal it transmits back to the Range Extender.
    This is a hidden SSID you don't connect to directly and is labeled (FC200_xxxxxx)
    The second is the Range Extender network you're familiar with labeled (Phantom_xxxxxx)
    This is the signal just between the Range Extender and your mobile device

    Powering on the Range Extender only, the Phantom_xxxxxx network appears at channel 1

    Powering on the Phantom, the FC200_xxxxxx network appears at channel 2

    Shortly afterward the Range Extender channel changes to channel 2 to match the Phantom


    I have the WebUI installed for both the Extender and the Phantom. Thanks to linuxkidd (viewtopic.php?f=27&t=17704)
    I checked the configuration to see what the WiFi power output settings are at startup without running either app yet.
    The Range Extender (Phantom_xxxxxx) comes up at 15dBm and the Phantom (FC200_xxxxxx) is at 3dBm at startup.
    I don't think the 15dBm output from the range extender is a factory default. I think I made a permanent change when I installed the WebUI.
    No changes were noticable after connecting my iPhone to the Phantom network or after running the DJI app and connecting to the camera.

    Here's what I found after running the "FPV Booster for Vision+" app and tapping "Boost Up!"
    The Phantom (FC200_xxxxxx) output power jumped up to 13dBm output according to the WebUI.
    The Range Extender (Phantom_xxxxxx) did not change.

    It appears that the FPV Booster app makes no change to the Extender transmit power and boosts the Phantom transmit power to only 13dBm.
    This actually makes sense. The weak link is the transmit power from the Phantom back down to the ground. Boosting power all the way to max is not usually a good idea. It can cause interference by overloading the amplifier which causes noise and ruins the signal to noise ratio.
    I believe the app creators tested to find out what configuration was optimal for range and set their app to that configuration to make it simpler for users.

    Afterward I tested the "Vision+ Utility". It doesn't do anything automatically so I simply tested that changes made with the app were actually applied accurately.
    I set the transmit power using the app at different levels and verfied the received signal on my laptop increased proprtionally.
    For both the Range Extender and Phantom FC200, the App worked exactly as it should. I also verified the Output power shown in the WebUI matched what was selected using the App.

    I found that with the TX power at the minimum 4dBm, it was highly variable, dropping down to -70dBm on my laptop but sometimes jumping up to -45dBm
    At 10dBm my received strength went up to -50 but varied from -55 to -45
    At 15dBm the signal went up to -45 but still varied slightly down to -50
    And at 20dBm by received strength stayed at -45 with little to no variation.

    Obviously my laptop receiver is topping out at -45 and at lower signal strength, mutipathing is causing large variations.

    If you're using the Vision+ Utility because you like to do things manually like me, you might consider limiting your Camera TX power to 13dBm for better range
     

    Attached Files:

  3. tizzl10

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    that vision+ utility app claims the 7ch is working but its not..atleast I cant get it to work.
     
  4. slothead

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    When I search for "Vision+ Utility" in the app store, the one I find (same price, $2.99) is developed and sold by "Ka Yue Mak" not "ocatcr." Are we talking about the same app?

    --- edit ---

    Ahh, but then I go to the developer's website and it is called "taco-rc.com." "Taco-RC" looks interestingly similar to "ocatcr." What's up with all this?
     
  5. cahutch

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    Yes. It appears so. That confused me at first also but the screenshots from that app and the Android version are identical and both apps are linked to taco-rc.com
     
  6. slothead

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    Good exercise cahutch. I understood most of it.
     
  7. Carey

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    Why do you not include the free version of the Vision+ Utility? Do you know of any tests involving the different power settings for either the camera or repeater sides and what side effects there might be?
     
  8. cahutch

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    Free version? No such thing on iOS. Though I did see the free version on Android.
    I think when they changed the app to the "Pro" version, they dropped the price on the old version to free.
    Maybe they'll do the same on iOS but in any case the functionality is the same.
     
  9. BlackTracer

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    Cahutch, thanks for all that data. When boosting using the utility app, you mention at the end you recommend 13dbm for the cam. What do u recommend for the extender?
     
  10. cahutch

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    Whatever the default is I guess. The 13dBm is only because that's what the other app does and they say that will give the best range. So it's really their recommendation.
    From what I've seen they have done a lot of testing and come up with that number as the best value.
     
  11. DBS

    DBS

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    Works for me... no problems... it is a very mechanical up and down tilt movement that may not be the best for people who are hoping for great cinematography in their shots but it works just fine for getting the camera pointed where you want it to be without taking your hands off the controls... Big game changer in my book..
     
  12. Mori55

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    So it not as smooth after you enable the app?
     
  13. PVFlyer

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    I suggest to test these apps by flying your P2V+ in both urban and rural area, instead of lab testing with meaningless dBm values. Our latest FPV Booster V2 (iOS only so far) equips with an interference control algorithm. You may compare the FPV range with any power level of other booster apps.

    Please share with us your test results.
     
  14. cahutch

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    It seems the Vision+ Utility 7th channel enabler isn't working the way we expected.
    From what I can tell, it's not enabling direct control the way it works before you run the app.
    Instead, their app pics up the movement of the slider and then sends (simulates) button pushes over the WiFi, the same as if you pushed the on screen button.
    It works, but it doesn't work the way the 7th channel normally does. Movement is fast and "steppy" as if you are tapping the on screen button.

    What I was expecting was that they somehow blocked or un-did whatever the app does when it starts that disabled the direct control.
    Unfortunately that may not be possible, so they worked around it. It's a great hack, and it's better than having to use the screen.
     
  15. tomas99

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    Any one got the flight logger to work in Vision+ Utility? (not me)


    -Tomas
    (paid for both)
     
  16. wattsn

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    I can't get it to work full stop. Shame. I shall persevere though.
     
  17. chluk2425

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    Can anyone provide more detail on the logger? I am currently struggling between the two... both are not expansive but I don't see the reason I shall own both... can I ask has anyone tried the logger in this week? does it work?
     
  18. DBS

    DBS

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    I activated the logger on my long distance flight a couple days ago... found the file in "device storage/VisionPlusUtility" named as "vpu2014.06.06.06.26.12.csv" ... it is full of data lines and shows as 50.61KB in size...

    First line shows what is tagged to be logged ...

    latitude,longitude,altitude(feet),ascent(feet),speed(mph),distance(feet),time(millisecond),gps,motor on

    And lines below fill with data accordingly.... reading thru the lines shows that things are making sense with all the parameters numerically increasing as I take off and fly farther and higher away from home point... However... I didn't try syncing with Dashware on this file because I also have Flytrex 2.0 installed and I'm accustomed to working with that one...

    I could try running dashware with the utility pro file and some gauges and see if it syncs to a video properly and report back here later...

    Also... In the video posted below I used Vision Plus Utility Pro app for 20dB boost and as you can see it works like a champ...
    Clearly my choice for the thread named "booster apps compared" ...

    Can't argue with results like that yo....
     
  19. chluk2425

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    may I ask what's your procedure or activating the booster? I was working in this order:-

    Turn on the reaper
    Turn on phone's wifi and connect the reaper
    Open booster apps
    Slide the button to on
    Set the values to 13dbm for both reaper and the drone
    Open up vision app and fly

    The results was, I get 6 out of 8 phantom connection broken at around 400m distance... not that impressive but I would say i get more distance than without it. The location where I was flying were either with cranes or with lots of buildings having quite a lot interference from their wifi.

    Question: was this a right order, and any comments on improving the range?

    Thanks in Adavnce
     
  20. cahutch

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    13dbm is fine for the Phantom but I'd boost the repeater (not the reaper) to 20dbm