DJI FPV Signal Strength Explained – Look at Bitrate, Not the Bars!

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

The signal bar in DJI’s FPV Goggles is sometimes unreliable, I found bitrate (some call it bandwidth) is a much better signal strength indicator. If you use Crossfire, you can also display LQ in OSD although it’s not yet supported.

The Better Signal Indicator for DJI FPV System

When flying with DJI FPV system, there are “signal bars” at the bottom left corner of the screen that is meant to show you how strong the video link is. However it’s not always reliable and sometimes flashes red way too early. The general consensus is to look at bitrate (some people call it bandwidth) which is located at the bottom right. In a nutshell, you should watch out when bitrate starts dropping, and you should probably turn back when it drops below 10Mbps.

DJI Signal bars and bitrate OSD on screen

Unlike analogue, the image quality of DJI FPV system doesn’t degrade gradually with weakened signal strength, when you realize you are about to lose signal it’s normally too late.

Bitrate normally stays unchanged when the video link is working correctly. Sometimes when you pop behind a tree, and the number might drop a little for a second, which is to be expected. When you are on the edge of losing signal, bitrate would stay extremely low. If you continue to push it, you will get a DJI logo and lose video feed completely.

You DO NOT want to lose signal with the DJI FPV system, because it’s unlikely for signal to come back before you crash, as it could sometimes take up to half a minute. That’s why I think setting up GPS rescue could be useful, as it can buy you more time to stay in the air, or even bring the drone back home if you are lucky.

That’s why it’s very important to keep an eye on Bitrate.

When signal bars go red, you should start watching Bitrate closely. But don’t read too much into red signal bars alone (unless it happens very close by, you might have a bad antenna in the Air Unit or goggles). As long as bitrate is still full, you should be fine at this point.

When bitrate drops below 20Mbps, you are now losing quite a bit of performance and you should be paying attention. When it hits 15Mbps, you should definitely consider to turn back! It gets extremely sketchy below 10Mbps and you could lose signal in a heartbeat.

Displaying LQ in DJI FPV Goggles

LQ as an element in Betaflight OSD, is still not yet supported in the DJI FPV goggles. However we can do this workaround to display it on the screen. Just follow the old method by passing the LQ value through an AUX channel, assign this AUX channel as RSSI in Betaflight, and finally display this RSSI value as OSD, but in fact that’s our LQ value.

Following the instructions here.

Note that because LQ is a number between 0 and 300, but RSSI is a value between 0 to 99, the LQ will get stuck at 99 most of the times. That’s normal, because LQ is normally way higher than 99, and that’s why it’s “stuck at 99”. But when it drops below 70 you should probably turn back as this is the lowest safe number.

This video shows you how bitrate changes when it’s running out of range.

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14 comments

Hans Breuer 5th December 2020 - 7:19 pm

Thanks Oscar for this. You might be the only person that posted this valuable info. on the net. It took me a lot of searching!
I have the DJI fpv system, do you think changing out the stock antennas on the goggles to some others might also supply better range?

Great stuff and thanks again.

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Oscar 10th January 2021 - 12:20 am

Definitely, the stock antenna is just a omni directional antenna with low gain, if you swap them out with high gain directional antenna you can get multiple times of range. Check out the antenna options here, my fav at the moment is the X-Air.

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Dawson Mobley 29th November 2020 - 6:50 am

I use the dji controller, is it possible for the control link to fail before the bitrate gets below 10mbs? Or am I pretty much good on the control link as long as I’m good on the video side?

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Brendan D 11th November 2020 - 4:29 pm

I would also like to know about tracking the performance of the dji controller link. Rssi and link quality does not apply to the dji remote and the bitrate and latency is for video. How can we know if we can push the remote link beyond the red?? Thanks for help with fpv Oscar you’re very helpful

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alf 21st October 2020 - 8:57 am

Is this possible for the remote control for the EU-version as well?

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Stephane G 19th September 2020 - 6:58 pm

Thanks for this, very usefull. What about the DJI controller range? How to track its performanxe more precisely during the flight? Thanks

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Julio 7th September 2020 - 12:14 am

Thanks so much for this.

I was returning as soon as I saw only 1 bar at red.

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José Cruz 2nd September 2020 - 11:09 pm

Thank you Oscar, this post is gold for me…

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rcschim 29th August 2020 - 4:41 pm

I like that they color the volts and RSSI red when it’s low – they should do the same with bitrate. maybe even 3 colors (because you could see this in the edge easier in color than to identify the actual number…
anyhows – with 50mbit we have a good ammount of range and video clarity ;
greets, Mario

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Agung 29th August 2020 - 12:45 am

why RSSI as LQ it’s stuck at 99, even tx off

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Oscar 4th September 2020 - 4:10 pm

because it’s stuck on the last value it receives from the RX, right at the time you turn off the TX, it’s 99. That’s why it gets stuck.
You should test it by setting power to 25mW and then try to walk away.

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William 28th August 2020 - 10:20 am

Thanks Oscar. Do you have an idea what the cut-off figures would be if you’re running in the 50Mpbs mode?

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Oscar 4th September 2020 - 4:07 pm

Same rules apply. But really as soon as you see it dropping I’d probably turn back already just to be safe :)

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Adam Bloemink 27th August 2020 - 7:23 pm

This is incredibly helpful, thanks Oscar.

I thought I had a dud due to my red signal indicator going off fairly immediately. Turns out I can push the distance 3x farther until the mbps bitrate starts dropping.

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