Drones use WiFi to establish connections with remote control. These devices are also able to get their commands from smartphones and tablets through dedicated apps (Thanks to IoT) using WiFi.
Now technically, each drone is assigned with an IP address which helps in recognition and establishing the connection. However, the question arises, what would happen if the commanding smartphone were using a VPN.
One thing is to download surfshark now and test the effect yourself. But since most drones are quite expensive we wouldn’t recommend you take any risk. Therefore, we will guide you properly on what would happen if you use a VPN with a drone.
So, if you are interested in learning all this, keep on reading!
Effect of VPN on Drones:
If a drone receives its command from a smartphone that is using a VPN, then it would be unable to get connected. However, once the VPN connection is down, the drone will work perfectly fine and get connected to the remote control.
Now when a drone has been instructed to do some action like move forward, it can use the IP address of the drone’s gateway router, which is connected to the internet. A VPN can prevent the drone from connecting to the gateway router as the drone is using the IP address of your router instead.
Hence, it won’t be able to communicate with its remote control.
Can A Drone be Spoofed with VPN?
Now, the question arises that if you are able to spoof a drone with a VPN, how will it affect the drone’s ability to fly? Let’s find out!
The answer is a clear No!
VPNs are designed for the purpose of encrypting the data transmitted between a client and server and that’s what makes them a good tool to protect our data from being stolen by hackers.
However, there is no way that a VPN can be used to spoof or block the communication between a client and a server. The only reason why a drone would be unable to connect to its remote control would be if a VPN client is connected to the gateway router.
In simple words, as mentioned earlier, UAVs need IP addresses to recognize the connection. Since you are using a VPN therefore, it may not be able to recognize your connection.
Will There be Any Effect on its Guidance Navigation and Control?
Now since virtual private networks mask the IP address most people might be thinking about whether it can affect the drone GNC or not. To make it clear UAVs use GPS and INS sensors for their GNC. The commands given by the remote-control system are to use these sensors and control the flight of the drone.
Therefore, even if a drone is connected to a remote with an active VPN it will not have any effect on its GNC. Why? Because VPNs only hide IP addresses, not UAVs rely on GNSS and INS sensors for positioning.
Therefore, if you intend to capture or land a drone you will need to spoof the GPS signals or temper with its navigation algorithms instead of communication. Another method is to jam the whole signal towards the drone which will cut off everything including the signal from GNSS.
Last Minute Thoughts
To sum it all up, drones use Wi-Fi to establish a connection to their remote control. This remote can also be a smartphone through a dedicated app. However, if the smartphone or tablet is using a VPN for the connection then the drone may not be able to pair with it.
Why? Because its IP will be hidden. But to make it further clear, VPNs are not able to spoof the location of the drone and affect its guidance navigation and control system. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful.
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