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Extreme Wi-Fi: AP-equipped drone takes flight

By Extreme Wi-Fi Deployments in · HiveMind Blog · June 10, 2013
Welcome to the Extreme Aerohive Wi-Fi deployments blog series. In these blogs, we will give you a quick-hit glance at some fascinating – and extreme(!) – controller-less WLAN deployments to give you a sense of how flexible our cloud-enabled solution is..

Who: Aerohive Networks (that's right - us!)

Where: Sunnyvale, CA

What kind of deployment: Aerohive BR100 Wi-Fi Router with a 4G module attached to a custom drone made by former Aerohive Vice President of Product Management, Adam Conway.

Whoa, that's extreme! The BR100 soared a few hundred feet and successfully beamed down Wi-Fi that was accessed by an iPhone (see screenshot below).
How did this come to pass? Adam loves robots. He loves robots so much that it has been mentioned in most descriptions about him - including two separate speeches at his wedding. He also spent much of his time in grad school building robots. When the Ardupilot open source autopilot came to market a few years ago, it was only a matter of time before Adam built his own drone.
After a late-night brainstorming session with Aerohive's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales,  Dean Hickman-Smith, an idea was born: Use an AP-equipped drone to provide Wi-Fi over areas that don't, or cannot, have Wi-Fi coverage. On the short list:
  • Provide Wi-Fi to first responders to natural or man-made disasters.
  • Provide Wi-Fi for events like outdoor concerts, company picnics, etc.
  • Provide temporary bridge links between locations by bouncing off aircraft.
  • Offer coverage for forward operations like oil exploration, expeditions, and remote camps.

Adam's drone was modified to take one of our BR100 Wi-Fi Routers with a 4G module. Here are photos of the first flight.  

There is, of course, lots of work yet to be done, says Adam. The BR100 interferes witht the GPS (they are right next to one another), which prevents fully autonomous flight. Also the airframe he is using maxes out at about 15 minutes of flight time, wheras more than an hour is required.
We will keep you posted here at the HiveMind as to the progress.
Note: All of these flights were done in accordance with FAA restrictions and were not commercial in nature. This is a personal drone owned by Adam and used by Adam. He was not paid for the use of his drone in any way. 


Have your own “extreme Aerohive Wi-Fi deployment” story to tell? Share your story here!

All Posts In This Series:

Reality Check: Your WLAN Is Already Supporting BYOD. Now What's Your Strategy?
BYOD Doesn't Have To Be A Challenge

Extreme Wi-Fi: AP-equipped drone takes flight

Extreme Aerohive Wi-Fi Deployments: Underwater Wi-Fi

Most Extreme Aerohive Wi-Fi Deployments: 50 below

Extreme Wi-Fi Deployments: Steel-melting heat

Extreme Aerohive Wi-Fi Deployments: The Haiti earthquake

Extreme Wi-Fi Deployment: Wireless on the high seas 

Extreme Wi-Fi deployments profile real world, extreme conditions where Wi-Fi can, and does, go.


Subscribers to the boundless digital magazine will receive a regular digest of the most recently posted content.