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Anafi Ai 4G Functionality - Interesting!

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I have very recently acquired and been using this impressive UAV.

One of the interesting features of the Anafi Ai is 4G communication and control ability.

The Anafi Ai 4G works quite surprisingly well, in various scenarios.

The control and image transmission are very steady and consistent, latency seems well within the tolerances Parrot claims.

There are several means of establishing and using the 4G communication, after of course inserting an appropriate data-capable 4G SIM card into the Anafi Ai:
- Using a control device with a data-capable 4G SIM card (ie, cellphone or tablet) in the Sky Controller​
- Using a control device without a data-capable 4G SIM card in the Sky Controller​
The 4G communication option ("Cellular Access') needs to be selected in the Free Flight 7 app.

If the control device has a data-capable 4G SIM card, the device needs to have 'mobile data' activated (with WiFi turned off). When the Sky Controller is turned on with the control device plugged in to it, and the Free Flight 7 app is running, the 4G communication will be configured and operate.

If the control device does not have a data-capable 4G SIM card (for example, a WiFi-only iPad), the device needs to have WiFi turned on, and be connected to either an internet WAN router or a WiFi WAN 'HotSpot' (for example, to a cellphone with mobile data and mobile hotspot enabled). When the Sky Controller is turned on with the control device plugged in to it, and the Free Flight 7 app is running, the 4G communication will be configured and operate.

Using spotters with comms, we were able to operate the Anafi Ai in several tests using a WiFi-only iPad mini 6, from inside a building, with the iPad connected to our ISP router, as described above.

We "geocaged" the Anafi Ai in the Free Flight 7 app, to a distance of 1.7km, and were able to go to the limit and function with no problems until we intentionally activated the RTH when the battery reached ~35%.

Please feel free to ask, I will try to answer any questions that I am able to.
 
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How much data is used per flight,lets say 65% of battery

I'm not sure yet.

According to my calculations, ~25MB (MegaByte) per minute.

[I used the figure for "Mobile Data Usage" - "Tethering and Hotspot" when I connected the Anafi Ai using the cellphone as a hotspot for the iPad Mini 6 I used for the Sky Controller device when testing that functionality, explained below.]

This could be an over-estimated approximation, or miscalculation, but it seems reasonable: Parrot claims up to 8Mbit/sec video stream to controller, plus of course bi-direction telemetry and control data, all secured with all kinds of security/encryption protocols.

Of course, if one is using a 4G (cellular) connection on their device used for the Sky Controller, the data used must be multiplied by 2 - ie, data to/from Anafi Ai via installed SIM card, plus data to/from Sky Controller device (cellphone or tablet with SIM card), that's how I arrived at the ~25MB figure above.

When we did the flight controlled from inside the building described above (total 3.5 km, 14 minutes 24 seconds duration using 47% of the battery), I can estimate about 362 MB of data was used.

I doubt that it's an under-estimation, but it would be useful if for example, Parrot logged the precise amount data used somewhere accessible, and had it displayed somewhere in the Anafi Ai Free Flight 7 app, then it would be more precise. I might have to try to probe the logs and see if the actual data usage is in there. I can only keep sending emails to Parrot and hope they at least answer some day.

Unfortunately my data plan is very inexpensive and doesn't provide precise itemized data usage either, just monthly total! Fortunately the data plan allows 1,000 Gigabytes (1TB) of data per month...

Edited to Add: The flight log file for the above mentioned ~14 minute flight is 1.1 MB, so this is in addition to the video stream to the controller device/FreeFlight 7 app (which is always 1080p 8 Mbit/sec according to Parrot docs). Obviously, the video stream is always active when the Anafi Ai is powered up, so if only 4G is active, one would be 'burning data' for the video stream at all time the Anafi Ai is powered up.
 
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Skydreamer

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My data plan is 50gig per month,two shared phones…..anafi ai would eat my data plan in one weekend……I wonder what would happen if u used all your data in mid flight…..I would assume RTH would kick in but than again knowing parrot anything is possible 😀

btw. Quote:
”I can only keep sending emails to Parrot and hope they at least answer some day.”
Are you saying parrot support is not answering you emails/calls..??
 
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My data plan is 50gig per month,two shared phones…..anafi ai would eat my data plan in one weekend……I wonder what would happen if u used all your data in mid flight…..I would assume RTH would kick in but than again knowing parrot anything is possible 😀

btw. Quote:
”I can only keep sending emails to Parrot and hope they at least answer some day.”
Are you saying parrot support is not answering you emails/calls..??
Your plan of 50gig should give about 20 full half-hour flights if my calculations are accurate.

In case of comm loss (if the cellular 4G connection goes away for some reason), RTH would definitely kick in, when the Anafi Ai gets back in WiFi range, it will switch to WiFi automatically, and the video stream/controllability will reappear.

So far as of now, no response from Parrot to emails, I haven't called them.
 
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Another 4G test in the field, ~15 minute flight using 4G in Anafi Ai and 4G hotspot from cellphone to iPad mini 6 in SkyController.

Latency was almost imperceptible, very objectively impressive.

4G Data used based on 'Data Used' metric from cellphone - 26.757 MByte Per Minute - Total for the flight (14 minutes 18 seconds): 382.67 MByte.

I can assume (?) that the Anafi Ai used the same amount of 4G data from its SIM card, so total data use in the case of SIM in Anafi Ai and SIM in device in SkyController would be 53.514 MByte per Minute.


So, as of now I'm figuring ~765.34 MByte Data for a full battery, which with my 4G data plan of 1TB [1,000 GB] per month, I can get ~1,306 flights without exceeding the 4G data plan.
 

SurveyHero

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Hey there, do you happen to know if an Ipad Mini 6 will fit? The best info I could find shows that the Anafi AI Controller will support up to an 8" device, but the iPad Mini 6 is 8.3". Thanks in advance!
 
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Hey there, do you happen to know if an Ipad Mini 6 will fit? The best info I could find shows that the Anafi AI Controller will support up to an 8" device, but the iPad Mini 6 is 8.3". Thanks in advance!
YES, iPad Mini 6 definitely, 100% fits. The dimensions are 7.69 inches x 5.3 inches, the diagonal screen size is 8.3 inches - the bezels are very thin.

I am using an iPad Mini 6 WiFi-only with the "TineeOwl iPad Mini 6 Ultra Thin" case (from Amazon), in the Anafi Ai SkyController - fits very well, works very well and display is amazing (I lock it in portrait).

Please note that your control device (in this case iPad Mini) needs to connect to the internet for the Anafi Ai 4G communication to work. Since I have the WiFi only version, in the field I use hotspot mode from a cellphone. When controlling from inside a building I connect the iPad to the wireless router, and the Anafi Ai in 4G mode connects over the internet.

WIth the WiFI + Cellular version, you can connect to the Anafi Ai 4G mode as long as you have a SIM card with data plan in the iPad Mini.

Also, note that only Cellular iPads have built-in GPS - a WiFi only version needs to be connected to a network or have an external GPS unit connected. I use a "Bad Elf GPS Pro Bluetooth GPS Receiver" in the field, works fine.
 
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SurveyHero

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Thanks so much for your detailed response -- much appreciated! I picked up a iPad Mini 6 Cellular as it seems like it will be the most versitile.
Thanks again!
 
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Thanks so much for your detailed response -- much appreciated! I picked up a iPad Mini 6 Cellular as it seems like it will be the most versitile.
Thanks again!
You're welcome.

I'd highly recommend a "SanDisk 128GB MAX Endurance microSDXC Card" for the Anafi Ai, it's fast and especially reliable, haven't had the slightest problem with it, in an SD card reader it transfers the video files to the PC at a steady ~90MB/sec. A typical ~26 minute video recording in 4K30P HDR uses ~20GB on the SD card.

Note that I've noticed SD card transfers are MUCH slower when the Anafi Ai is connected to the PC with a USB cable, and transferring large video files to the iPad Mini 6 while connected via the SkyController is almost embarrassingly slow, plus in both the latter cases the drone must be powered on for the transfer.

Based on my experience up until now, on a full battery, one can expect a full 25-28 minutes of flight time with the battery down to about 15%-20% at landing.
 

SurveyHero

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Thanks again!
I have another question for you -- I am struggeling to get the drone online. the go.skyward.io/freetrial link no longer works, and it seems that Skyward is ending operations next week. How did you get your Anafi AI activated on the Verizon network?
The imei number recognized this as a Parrot Drone, but Verizon online does not allow me to select a plan (i encounter an enless loop of "select a pla" with no options. A call to Verizon Wireless customer service was no help, as they are seeing the same thing. We activated the sim card from the Anafi AI in another device, with confimed data access; however, within the Freefly 7 app, the "Cellular Access" shows that the "drone failed to publish its status" and will not connect to the network.
Thanks in advance (again!!)
 
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Thanks again!
I have another question for you -- I am struggeling to get the drone online. the go.skyward.io/freetrial link no longer works, and it seems that Skyward is ending operations next week. How did you get your Anafi AI activated on the Verizon network?
The imei number recognized this as a Parrot Drone, but Verizon online does not allow me to select a plan (i encounter an enless loop of "select a pla" with no options. A call to Verizon Wireless customer service was no help, as they are seeing the same thing. We activated the sim card from the Anafi AI in another device, with confimed data access; however, within the Freefly 7 app, the "Cellular Access" shows that the "drone failed to publish its status" and will not connect to the network.
Thanks in advance (again!!)


I am not in the USA at this time, I did not get the Anafi Ai from Skyward, my cellular service provider is local to the country I am in.

Did you get the "Parrot ANAFI Ai + Skyward Combo"?

If so, Skyward says:
"We seek to give you the smoothest possible transition off Skyward without significantly impacting your flight operations. In compliance with our Terms of Service, we will continue to support the Skyward Drone Management Platform through June 30, 2022, at which point users will no longer have access." [from: Skyward, A Verizon company, to end operations - Skyward]

So, Skyward should give you that free trial until June 30th (which they obviously aren't), according to them.

They also claim the following:

"These five perks of using Parrot ANAFI Ai are groundbreaking, and they’re all made possible because of Verizon 4G LTE. In fact, in the U.S., Parrot ANAFI Ai connects exclusively to the Verizon network through Skyward’s Connected Drone Solution ... If you have a subscription to Skyward, you’ll be able to activate your ANAFI Ai’s 4G LTE through Skyward’s InFlight mobile app" [from: 5 Benefits of Verizon 4G LTE Connectivity for Parrot ANAFI Ai - Skyward]

After the Skyward failure, Parrot says that the Anafi Ai will work with any 4G LTE provider:
Parrot on LinkedIn: Following the decision taken by Verizon to end Skyward activities,

---

This may be helpful:

Does your FreeFlight 7 app show "SIM Locked" in the “Cellular access” menu from the drone page of the dashboard? If so, maybe this will help: How do I manage 4G connections? | Parrot

If that's not the problem:

You might have to configure the APN for Verizon in the FreeFlight 7 app "Settings>Advanced>Communication". Verizon APN is vzwinternet and IP Protocol is IPv4, no username or password. (The drone has to be turned on for this).

If that didn't work:

Try the SIM card in another mobile device if you have one (not the one you activated the SIM card in), and see if it works or not - Verizon may "lock" SIM cards to the IMEI of the device it was first activated in. If the SIM card doesn't work in another device besides the one it was activated in, put the SIM card back in the Anafi Ai, get the IMEI of the Anafi Ai from the “Cellular access” menu from the drone page of the dashboard (the drone has to be turned on for this):
Image1.png
[Your IMEI will be a different number, make a note of it]

Then call Verizon and get them to enter the Anafi Ai IMEI you have noted, turn off the Anafi Ai after 5 minutes then turn it back on and see if it connects.

Please let me know if any of that helped.
 

SurveyHero

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Thanks again for your help! I was able to set this up on Verizon Wireless after running through all of the steps above, adding the APN info, and a call to tier 2 tech support. The final pice of the puzzle was to log out and back into the Parrot.Cloud account. Once I did that, the drone connected flawlessly. You help is so very much appreciated!!
 

OKPowerline

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Thanks again!
I have another question for you -- I am struggeling to get the drone online. the go.skyward.io/freetrial link no longer works, and it seems that Skyward is ending operations next week. How did you get your Anafi AI activated on the Verizon network?
The imei number recognized this as a Parrot Drone, but Verizon online does not allow me to select a plan (i encounter an enless loop of "select a pla" with no options. A call to Verizon Wireless customer service was no help, as they are seeing the same thing. We activated the sim card from the Anafi AI in another device, with confimed data access; however, within the Freefly 7 app, the "Cellular Access" shows that the "drone failed to publish its status" and will not connect to the network.
Thanks in advance (again!!)
I am trying to get setup on the Verizon network as well, and no one seems to know how to do it. I have the cellular version of the iPad mini and still don't know if I need a plan for the iPad and a plan for the drone or just one for the drone. Verizon has only said that they can't share a plan, but havent been able to set a plan up for the drone yet (endless loop of select a plan with no options here as well). Any information you can share would be extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. I will share any information that I can find as well.
 
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I am trying to get setup on the Verizon network as well, and no one seems to know how to do it. I have the cellular version of the iPad mini and still don't know if I need a plan for the iPad and a plan for the drone or just one for the drone. Verizon has only said that they can't share a plan, but havent been able to set a plan up for the drone yet (endless loop of select a plan with no options here as well). Any information you can share would be extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. I will share any information that I can find as well.
You absolutely need SIM cards with data plans for both the Anafi AI and iPad Mini.

Read and follow all of the steps described above that were successful for SurveyHero, (posts #12 and #13).

Let us know if that works for you.
 
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