Wireless data transfer speed

  • Thread starter jakesee
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi,

I am working on a software control system with visual terrain rendering for UAV navigation.

I am new at this, and I have some issues not clear with regard to signals.

Can anyone tell me if all wireless datalinks (at least for existing tech) are at speed of light?
And if it is true, then the only delay factor to consider is the processing/frame rate of the computer and bandwidth transmission time?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
f95toli
Science Advisor
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Yes, the radio waves in a wireless system always propagate at the speed of light (radio waves ARE light, just at a much lower frequency than visual light).
However, this does not mean that this is not a significant delay factor at large distances. The speed of light is high, but it is not THAT high if you consider the speed of a modern DSP. c is 3e8 m/s; meaning it takes 10 microseconds for a signal to travel to and from a UAV that is 1.5km away; this can certainly be significant.

Btw; this is the reason why probes and robots that are sent to other planets by NASA and co need to be somewhat autonomous; it is literally impossible to control them directly due to the time delay; and this will always be true regardless of how fast the computers are.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for your reply.

I totally forgot about the distance issue when I posted. Thanks for reminding.
Also, i think now the problem becomes even more difficult because of varying distancings considering the flight velocity of UAV... sigh.

Thanks.
 

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