Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Is a worldwide aviation system based on the 1090 MHz band spectrum used by aircraft to constantly broadcast, over a radio message their current, position, speed, altitude, and other flight parameters to receivers on the ground or in space (on satellites).

What does ADS-B mean?

ADS-B is automatic because no external trigger is required. It is dependent because it relies on on-board systems to provide surveillance information to other parties. Also, the data is broadcast, and the originating source has no knowledge of who receives the data and there is no interrogation.


Wide surveillance coverage.
Improved safety.
Weather data can be displayed.
Reduced cost of surveillance infrastructure.
More efficient flight profiles such as air traffic spacing, separation, self-separation.

How It Works

In simplistic terms, an aircraft with a Mode S ADS-B Transponder broadcasts its in-flight parameters such as speed, position, and registration. These "ADS-B Messages or ADS-B Reports" are received or picked up by ADS-B receivers on the ground or on satellites, which decode these messages or reports and send them to RadarBox servers, which further process this data and then display it on our website and app.

Figure Above:

Working Principle of the ADS-B System

ADS-B System Components

ADS-B out & ADS-B in

ADS-B out refers to an aircraft equipped with a transponder that broadcasts its position and other information such as airspeed altitude etc. ADS-B out transponders do not broadcast any weather or traffic information. ADS-B in refers to an aircraft equipped with a receiver, capable of receiving broadcasts and messages from the ground network.

The Setup on the Aircraft

The ADS-B out capability on the aircraft is enabled by transponders interfaced with other avionics systems on board. Most commercial aircraft come equipped with an ADS-B out Mode S transponder. For general aviation (GA) aircraft hover, this may not be the case and the owner / operator will need to fit in an ADS-B out Mode -S transponder.

The Ground Station Setup

An ADS-B receiver consists of a Decoder, a GPS component (for receiver position), inbuilt band-pass filter (to allow only receiving of 1090MHz band transmissions), a receiving circuit board and can be inexpensively manufactured. A Raspberry Pi computer can be used as a ADS-B receiver as well, once the software decider dump1090 is installed on it. An antenna (ranging from 15 cm - 2 feet) is connected to the ADS-B receiver to receive data.

Working Principle


An aircraft equipped with a GPS and an ADS-B out transponder broadcasts its identity, position, altitude and other data over radio waves at rapid intervals.


Dedicated ADS-B grounds stations or Receivers receive these broadcasts and relay the information to Radarbox servers / air traffic control for precise tracking of the aircraft.


Once this data is decoded and processed, it is displayed for public viewing on the website:

RadarBox ADS-B Coverage & Adoption

As of July 2020, RadarBox has a ground network of 25,000+ ADS-B receivers in 174 countries and adds an average of 700 receivers to the network each month. Radarbox receives data from 11 different sources such as Satellites, FAA SWIM and EUROCONTROL and has excellent ADS-B coverage in most parts of the world. Over 70% of North & South America are covered by ground or satellite-based ADS-B. 80% of Australia and Europe (excluding Russia) are also covered by our ADS-B networks. Coverage is significantly increasing each year in most parts of Asia & Africa and we hope to achieve at least 60% ground coverage in these parts of the world by 2025.

View ADS-B Coverage

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