How to extend the range of the Ryze Tello drone

The Ryze Tello is a tiny drone you can fly with your phone and it's not meant to go very far. Relying on your phone means a pretty tight range and sometimes choppy video, but with a cheap accessory and a few minutes of your time, you can make your flying experience a whole lot better.

Products used in this guide

How to extend the range on your Ryze Tello

Ryze Tello

The Tello operates by creating a direct wireless connection between your smartphone and the drone. This isn't a particularly strong connection, and if it drops it'll affect not only your ability to view where you're flying through the phone, but also the quality of the photo and video you're capturing since they're saved directly to your phone.

This method involves using a USB Wi-Fi repeater with a built in amplifier as a go-between. The Tello connects to the repeater, then the repeater connects to your phone giving you not only smoother FPV but greater range.

Setting up needs to be done in a few stages when you're doing this for the first time, but these steps only need doing once.

  1. Connect to your Tello's Wi-Fi network as normal and open the app.
  2. In the Tello's settings, tap on Wi-Fi.

  1. Change your Wi-Fi name to something without any dashes or symbols in.
  2. Add a password if you need to.

You'll be prompted now that the connection will restart to confirm. Once it's done this, put down the Tello, but leave it turned on.

Next, grab your USB battery pack and the Xiaomi Wi-Fi repeater.

Mi Wi-Fi repeater

  1. Download the Mi Home app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.
  2. Create an account. (Note: ignore the prompt for a phone number and create an account with email instead.)
  3. Ensure your account is set to a region such as United States (Asia Server), Mainland China, or Singapore, or the repeater won't show up as a device to add as is the case in Europe.
  4. Tap the + to add a new device.

  1. Tap on nearby devices and the app should show you the Wi-Fi repeater.
  2. Tap on the repeater icon to connect.
  3. When prompted to connect to another router, tap your Tello.

The app will now finalize the connection and will likely "fail" at the final step. If the light on the repeater is blue, all is well and you can ignore this message.

Now the repeater is linked to the Tello's wireless connection. You won't see the repeater listed in the Mi Home app and you'll never have to go into it again unless you need to reconfigure. The final step is to put it all together. This is what you'll do now every time you want to connect to your Tello using the repeater.

  1. Ensure the Tello and repeater are both powered up.
  2. On your smartphone, select the network you created previously, in this case TELLO_plus.
  3. Launch the Tello app on your phone. Assuming everything is connected properly you'll see an FPV signal from the drone's camera.

The initial setup process isn't overly complicated assuming you follow these steps and do everything in the right order. It only takes about five minutes to be up and running, and every time you go flying after that the connection process is no different to just joining the direct connection from the drone. The difference now is that the signal will be a bit stronger, you'll be able to fly further and your video should be less choppy.

Our top equipment picks

Extending the range of your Ryze Tello is simple and very cost-effective thanks to the Xiaomi USB Wi-Fi repeater.

It's such a simple product but its results are extraordinary. The video transmitted to your phone will be crisper and your drone will be able to fly futher thanks to the amplifying effects of this little dongle.

Additional Equipment

You'll also need some way of powering the repeater on the go, and perhaps even a Tello if this guide has you interested in picking one up.

Anker PowerCore USB battery pack ($32 at Amazon)

With two connections, you'll be able to not only power your Wi-Fi repeater but also recharge your drone's batteries, too.

Ryze Tello ($99 at Amazon)

A great starter drone for kids and adults alike, flown with just a smartphone and packed with technology from industry leader, DJI.

Richard Devine