What is FPV and what is the difference between Wi-Fi and analog 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz


If you have ever been inter­est­ed in drones or quad­copters, then you have come across the acronym FPV. FPV (First Per­son View) — first-per­son view as in com­put­er games. Every day, prices for quad­copters are decreas­ing and FPV drones are becom­ing avail­able even in the bud­get UAV seg­ment.

Fly­ing a drone with FPV, you can lit­er­al­ly feel like a bird. That is why this trend is rapid­ly gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty. See­ing this, man­u­fac­tur­ers have increased the pro­duc­tion of drones with the pos­si­bil­i­ty of FPV flight. The first-per­son view gave a big boost to the pop­u­lar­i­ty of drones. Every day the num­ber of peo­ple who are already fly­ing or just going is grow­ing.

Prices for FPV drones start around $100. Such drones are main­ly need­ed to famil­iar­ize your­self with FPV flights and under­stand which drone will be next. How­ev­er, there are two dif­fer­ent FPV sig­nal trans­mis­sion tech­nolo­gies: dig­i­tal (via Wi-Fi) and ana­log at 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz. Let’s look at them in detail.

What is FPV and what is the difference between Wi-Fi and analog 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz

What is FPV?

FPV in the field of drones or drone hob­by This is a real-time broad­cast of video from the drone’s cam­era to the mon­i­tor, gog­gles or pilot’s hel­met. In oth­er words, this tech­nol­o­gy allows you to see what the drone “sees” at the time of flight. To car­ry out such a flight, a cam­era, a video trans­mit­ter and an anten­na are installed on the drone. There are 3 in 1 (AIO — All In One) builds, which in hob­by are often used on micro drones like Tiny Whoop. In this case, to imple­ment FPV flight, the pilot needs either a remote con­trol with a mon­i­tor and a receiv­er, or gog­gles with a built-in receiv­er.


*An exam­ple of an FPV AIO cam­era.

What is the use of this? First feel some free­dom of flight. Sec­ond FPV allows you to fly a drone over long dis­tances.


With FPV, you can see exact­ly where the drone is at any giv­en time and nav­i­gate its sur­round­ings. After we fig­ured out what FPV is in the drone hob­by, let’s look at the most pop­u­lar video stream­ing meth­ods.

FPV Types: Digital and Analog

As men­tioned above, the trans­mis­sion of a video stream over the air is imple­ment­ed by means of a trans­mit­ter and receiv­er, which, in turn, can oper­ate in var­i­ous radio fre­quen­cy bands — 900 MHz, 1.2 GHz, 1.3 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz. In the ama­teur niche, the most com­mon­ly used bands are 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. And the equip­ment used for data trans­mis­sion can be of two types dig­i­tal and ana­log. Each type has its pros and cons, but one is clear­ly bet­ter than the oth­er. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Analog FPV at 2.4GHz

Of the options described in this arti­cle, the 2.4GHz ana­log band is the least pop­u­lar. The rea­son lies in the low qual­i­ty of the fre­quen­cy for receiv­ing the FPV sig­nal. The video pic­ture at this fre­quen­cy is more prone to blur and noise. All because of the large num­ber of devices that sur­round us and oper­ate at a fre­quen­cy of 2.4GHz. From mobile devices con­nect­ed via Wi-Fi to microwave ovens. They are all sources of this fre­quen­cy inter­fer­ence. Accord­ing­ly, in the city, fly­ing in FPV mode at a fre­quen­cy of 2.4 GHz will be prob­lem­at­ic.

FPV over Wi-Fi at 2.4GHz (Digital)


*From left to right: One of the options for smart­phone hold­ers (installed on the con­trol pan­el of bud­get UAVs); One of the options for the bud­get FPV Wi-Fi cam­era with a built-in video trans­mit­ter and anten­na.

The most pop­u­lar tech­nol­o­gy through which FPV flight is imple­ment­ed. It is installed main­ly on bud­get drones. Almost every quad­copter under $100 will have FPV over Wi-Fi. The first rea­son for the pop­u­lar­i­ty is a cheap Wi-Fi trans­mit­ter that is con­nect­ed to the drone’s cam­era, the sec­ond is that there is no mon­i­tor in the pack­age, its role will be played by a smart­phone or tablet. In the case of ana­log equip­ment, the drone is equipped with an addi­tion­al remote con­trol with a mon­i­tor or glass­es.


There­fore, FPV over Wi-Fi is the eas­i­est and most con­ve­nient way to fly from the first per­son to date. After turn­ing on the drone, you need to con­nect the gad­get to a Wi-Fi point and go to the appli­ca­tion. The dis­ad­van­tages of dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy are the sig­nal trans­mis­sion dis­tance, lim­it­ed by Wi-Fi capa­bil­i­ties, a large num­ber of inter­fer­ence sources in the 2.4GHz band, and the biggest dis­ad­van­tage is the image delay, the far­ther the drone is from the pilot, the greater the delay val­ue, which sub­se­quent­ly negates all fur­ther flight in first per­son. This method is rel­e­vant only for the first acquain­tance with FPV and noth­ing more.

Analog FPV at 5.8GHz

FPV at 5.8GHz is the choice of pro­fes­sion­als and ama­teurs. Pros. Good bal­ance between through­put and range. The delay of the pic­ture is so small that it is imper­cep­ti­ble to the human eye. It is cur­rent­ly one of the best ranges for FPV fly­ing. By default, it is installed on rac­ing drones, since the delay of the trans­mit­ted image is opti­mal for high-speed flights.


The only down­side is the price. Due to the addi­tion­al mon­i­tor or glass­es, the price is notice­ably high­er. You will also have to pay extra for a pow­er­ful trans­mit­ter.

Begin­ners are advised to start with bud­get FPV gog­gles with 5.8GHz ana­log tech­nol­o­gy.

FPV over Wi-Fi at 5GHz (Digital)

Broad­cast­ing over Wi-Fi at a fre­quen­cy of 5 GHz came into the bud­get niche not so long ago, which made it pos­si­ble to sig­nif­i­cant­ly improve the qual­i­ty of the video stream and the dis­tance of removal. There­fore, when choos­ing a bud­get FPV drone, it is best if the Wi-Fi video trans­mit­ter of the mod­el oper­ates at a fre­quen­cy of 5GHz.

For infor­ma­tion: To attract the atten­tion of the user, devel­op­ers often use instead of the des­ig­na­tion GHz / GHz, just “G” (for exam­ple, 5G or 2.4G). In fact, this has noth­ing to do with the fifth gen­er­a­tion of mobile com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but sim­ply indi­cates that the con­trol of the drone / trans­mis­sion of the video stream is car­ried out at a fre­quen­cy of 5GHz (or 2.4GHz, respec­tive­ly).

What is FPV and what is the difference between Wi-Fi and analog 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz


The result is:

  1. Ana­log FPV at 2.4GHz lega­cy tech­nol­o­gy, almost nev­er used
  2. Wi-Fi FPV at 2.4GHz is a new bud­get tech­nol­o­gy, but the pic­ture is broad­cast with a sig­nif­i­cant delay
  3. Wi-Fi FPV at 5GHz (5G Wi-Fi) is a new bud­get tech­nol­o­gy, the pic­ture is broad­cast with less delay com­pared to Wi-Fi FPV 2.4GHz, in bet­ter qual­i­ty and longer range. The best option for entry-lev­el quad­copters (for toys).
  4. Ana­log FPV at 5.8GHz is the best of the three, the choice of pro­fes­sion­als and ama­teurs.


As you know, tech­nolo­gies do not stand still, and first-per­son flight is grad­u­al­ly enter­ing the pro­fes­sion­al unmanned hob­by, built on a more pow­er­ful dig­i­tal fill­ing, which is far from Wi-Fi tech­nol­o­gy, and by an order of mag­ni­tude out­per­forms ana­log FPV in terms of broad­cast qual­i­ty (HD qual­i­ty with ultra-low laten­cy). DJI Inno­va­tions was the first to offer such a dig­i­tal FPV as a hob­by that could com­pete with ana­log, with their DJI Dig­i­tal FPV sys­tem FPV kit. The down­side of this tech­nol­o­gy, as always, is only one price.


By Yara