Remote Control Distance Explained

You can see labelled distance on every remote control, some says 100m while other long range may say 1000m, also you may notice that all distance are line-of-sight distance, or distance in theory that might vary greatly in real field test.

Customer might wonder why sometimes there is so much difference between labelled distance and actual distance tested, if so, what’s the point of product distance labelled?

Well, although the actual distance may vary, but customer still need this information so they will get a rough idea of how good remote control can work in ideal circumstance, and they can be sure the 1000m distance ones will out perform 100m ones in every circumstance.

Remote control distance calculator

We have a free remote control distance calculator to provide a easy step to calculate the actual range of devices, as follows


* The receiver sensitivity is not a fixed value for certain chip, you might need to adjust the receiver sensitivity according to frequency, BER, DR and other factors. Also antenna gain is not fixed either, consult your antenna supplier for accurate value at operating circumstances.

* This calculator now doesn’t take BER (bit error rate) and DR (data rate) in consideration, please refer to your receiver IC datasheet for corrected sensitivity value at anticipated BER & DR, then enter these values into the above calculator.

Factors impacts remote control distance

If you’re interested, please read on.

At Solidremote, we don’t use theoretical distance as label, since they rarely give customer idea of the real performance, we use tested in field, line-of-sight distance, under low interference, at around 25C temperature.

The ideal RF distance depends on following factors

  • TX power in dBm
  • TX antenna efficiency
  • RX sensitivity
  • RX antenna gain

While actual distance, without interference depends on following additional factors

  • Space propagation model, indoor or outdoor, dry or wet air, with or without obstruct
  • Carrier frequency
  • Measured BER error rate
  • Data rate

If there is interference, the following factors also needs to be considered

  • Interference strength at given frequency
  • Power line noise

The common interference comes from power line or high radiation object (especially when control motors), check our guide for how to tackle wireless interference when using motors.

So the actual distance might vary greatly depending on above factors, when we test here, the distance is calculated in dry weather, where propagation factor roughly equals to n=2.5