Drone Jammers: How They Work, Why They Exist？
It’s not a secret that not everyone is ecstatic that there a growing number of drones taking off to the skies nowadays. As with just about any piece of technology, there are drone pilots who use their drones less responsibly or more maliciously than others. With the growing concerns over privacy and security, it’s not a surprise that there have been a lot of efforts to develop drone jammer.
These anti-drone technologies have common goals – to bring down a rogue or prevent them from entering a restricted area. How are drone pilots supposed to feel about this relatively new development? Do we need to watch out for our neighbors taking down our drones with their own drone jammers?
How do drone jammers work?
Short of shooting down a drone with physical projectiles, the only anti-drone technology in existence is what is commonly known as a “drone jammer.” As its name implies, such a device will jam the frequency – either 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz – that a drone uses to communicate with its ground station. The drone jammer does this by sending its own electromagnetic signal at the same frequency, thus overriding the drone’s communication systems. In most cases, this will result in the drone activating its Return to Home function, through which the drone pilot can be identified.
This description may conjure images of a drone jammer that looks like a gun, but this may not necessarily be the case. True enough, there are handheld drone jammers in existence. However, these are heavy and bulky devices that take a lot of effort to deploy and can hardly be used stealthily. More commonly used are perimeter-based drone jamming technologies that use signal emitters placed around an area that needs to be protected from drone intrusion.
Why drone jammers Exist
Despite efforts by the FAA and the NTSB to regulate drone flight, it cannot be denied that they have been and continue to be used for purposes that are malicious, unethical, or downright illegal. Cases of drones being used for voyeurism are incredibly common, with a few well-documented cases highlighting just how disturbing drones can be in the wrong hands. They have also interfered with emergency response operations, caused the delays of commercial flights, and used to smuggle contraband into correctional facilities.
In 2015, a drone was able to fly into the lawn of the White House – one of the strictest permanent “no-drone zones” in the country. This event proved just how drones can be when used to breach security, as they are too small to be detected by standard radar equipment.
Although the pilot responsible for the drone was only flying for fun and claimed to have lost control of it, the incident opened the national consciousness to the dangers of drone use. After all, the lawn where the drone was recovered was the same lawn where the presidential helicopter lands. Without security measures, it would have been easy to mount an attack using the drone.
With public safety and national security on the line, it really was only a matter of time before anti-drone technology was developed. Are they necessary? Arguably, yes, they are – at least, until a more comprehensive method for implementing accountability for drone pilots can be created. However, anti-drone technology must also be similarly regulated.
As controversial as widespread drone use has become, the use of anti-drone technology has proven to be even more controversial. Drone jamming technology may offer peace of mind to those who are concerned about how drones can violate their security and privacy, but the truth is that the technology can be so easily exploited.
For this reason, the drone community would be glad to know that the use of drone jammers is heavily regulated. This strict regulation also extends to its manufacture, importation, and sales. Right now, only the federal government has the authority to allow the use of drone jammers. Even then, it is used only very sparingly because of the dangers of collateral damage.
drone jammer are nothing to worry about for the average drone pilot. Just make sure you aren’t flying your drone anywhere near the White House – if you do, drone jammers are going to be the least of your worries.
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