Our team is heading off to a demonstration event this weekend. Probably not uncommon! The particular venue we will be at has lots of wireless communications. From past years, I expect that we will have wireless communications problems - especially when the crowd shows up.
What solutions have people identified for this situation?
Has anyone assembled an ‘FMS light’ for such events?
By ‘FMS light’ I imagine a single wireless router and configuration software such that each robot’s radio (along with locking out all other MAC addresses!) can connect to the field and each team’ control station can connect to that team’s robot. Hopefully this description helps.
Typically when we do demos with lots of wifi traffic we either use 5ghz or a different channel on 2.4ghz. Additionally I’ve seen other teams bridge their robot router to another router plugged into their laptop. If you password protect your wireless on your robot wireless, 5ghz usually is pretty secure as many standard laptops/phones cannot connect to it as they lack the antenna for it.
The simplest way is to just setup a router to connect to all the driver station laptops over Ethernet. Then configure the robot radios to bridge to that router. Make sure the router is setup for 5ghz and use a wifi analyzer app to find the cleanest frequency. Turn the wireless adapters on the laptops off like you do at the regional. You can put security on the wireless network and only distribute it to the teams or configure all the radios yourself if you want to be even more secure.
First off - thanks to all the suggestions I received.
Everything came off great!
I purchased a middle of the road router with dual-band capability.
Brought with me a set of Cat5 cables for the drivestations.
I made sure I had the latest radio configuration software.
The basic process was to
Setup the SSIDs for the two router bands,
Setup a WPA password for each band,
Change the admin password on the router,
Configure the router as 10.0.0.1 with a subnet mask of 255.0.0.0
The real key on radio setups was to use the ‘FMS-Lite Mode’ in ‘Tools’.
Most of the radios took the configuration on the first pass.
I had forgotten to read up on the drive station configuration.
Once I set the IP address of the drive station to 10.TE.AM.6, everything worked fine!
Attached are the step-by-step instructions I created.
Replace my #1018 centric jargon with your own choices, and away you go!
One comment: Using an independent workstation to check for connected devices on the router was very helpful. That way I could verify wireless comm to the robots and cabled comm to the drive stations. This removed a lot of guesswork.