Does GoPro WiFi work underwater? If you're like me, you assumed that the GoPro WiFi works underwater. But it doesn't. In this post, I'll explain why it doesn't work and two ways to work around it.
Why doesn't GoPro WiFi work underwater?
It has to do with the radio waves and how well water absorbs 2.4GHz waves. In fact, water absorbs radio frequency so well that a microwave (also 2.4GHz) can heat a glass of water with them.
How deep can a GoPro go before losing the WiFi connection? I've yet to test it, but many users give a range of 5 inches to 2 feet of water before the connection is lost.
GoPro acknowledges that this will happen:
In this post, you'll learn how to make GoPro WiFi work underwater.
Check out: How to use GoPro underwater (12 Tips)
How to Use GoPro WiFi Underwater
To transmit the signal through the water (from your mobile device to your GoPro) you'll need a cable. The cable serves as a conduit to carry the signal through the water and back to your mobile device.
Specifically, you'll want a coaxial antenna cable for WiFi frequency. The most common is RG 174. You can either make your own cable or buy a premade one. In this post, I'll cover both options.
In the following video, you'll see how to DIY a WiFi cable for your GoPro.
1. How to DIY an Underwater GoPro WiFi Cable
Watch on YouTube (Although the video is 8:30, the tutorial is just the first 3:40 – and the remaining five minutes is just underwater footage.
How much of the wire should be stripped? I found this point interesting. I'll let Paul Illsley explain:
Here's another tutorial for DIY solution.
2. Underwater WiFi Extension Cable for GoPro
There is at least one commercial WiFi cable available.
GoPro accessories manufacturer Cam-Do makes an underwater WiFi extension cable specifically for GoPro. It comes in lengths from 20 to 250 feet (and ranges in price from $160 to $603).
When GoPro livestreamed a shark swim on Periscope, they used the Cam-Do WiFi cable.
Check out the footage:
GoPro Shark Swim on Periscope with Underwater WiFi
Watch on Facebook
Here's the Cam-Do video showing their WiFi connection cable. Unfortunately, the audio is awful and a little hard to listen to.
Watch on YouTube
There are a couple of videos at the end of the post that were filmed using the Cam-Do WiFi cable setup.
But first, you might be wondering about when you would use this setup. Here are a few applications:
3 Best Ways to Use GoPro Underwater
There are a few reasons you'll want to connect via WiFi to your GoPro underwater.
- Use it as a fish finder: You'll be able to see live video feed under the surface. This is great for filming and for knowing where to drop your fishing line.
- Improve composition: Now you won't have to wonder if you “got the shot”. You'll see the composition and be able to make adjustments. This can save lots of time – and possibly not getting the shot.
- Change settings: I'm not 100% sure about this, but it makes sense that it would also work. To be able to change settings (switch from video to photo, for example) would require a signal to go the other direction. If you have experience with this, please let me know in the comments.
Here are a couple of videos shot with a GoPro and an underwater WiFi extension cable.
Under the Ice: Coho Salmon
Watch on Vimeo: River Snorkel: Under The Ice
Crab Trapping with GoPro and WiFi Cable
Watch on YouTube
So, does GoPro WiFi work underwater? The answer is yes. But you'll need to make (or buy) an extension cable. And you'll probably want a solid selfie stick for most applications – something to attach your cable to.
What setup are you using for underwater WiFi connection? Have you changed settings via a WiFi cable?
Please share your questions and comments below!