[FRC Blog] 2016 Radio Update

Posted on the FRC Blog, 10/8/15: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-2016-radio-update

2016 Radio Update

**Blog Date: **Thursday, October 8, 2015 - 13:30

*Today’s blog comes from Kate Pilotte, Kit of Parts Manager for FRC.
I’m excited to announce that we’ve selected a new robot radio for the 2016 season. We will be switching to Open Mesh’s OM5P-AN dual band access point.

2016 Radio with Pear

Pear for Size #wehavenobananas

Each team will get one in their Kickoff Kit, and they’re available at a variety of online retailers. AndyMark and Open Mesh have agreed to work together to accommodate lower pricing specifically for FRC teams, but we (*FIRST *& AndyMark) can’t publish the lower price due to contractual obligations. You’ll see the FRC specific price when you log in to an AndyMark account that’s affiliated with your team (if you don’t see it, contact webmaster@andymark.com).

Here’s the rub:

  • fewer Ethernet ports (2)
  • higher cost

But here’s why we’re really excited:

  • still be able to use one device while at home and on the competition field (i.e. no secondary access point for use at home - for those of you who remember 2009)
  • still able to use diagnostic LEDs (you’d be surprised how rare this feature is becoming)
  • multiple features (bandwidth limit, QOS, etc.) that combine to decimate, if not eliminate, the “Christmas tree” phenomenon (network congestion that results in robot radios rapidly dropping in and out during a match)
  • the firmware is open, so we can control it (the FRC firmware will not be available until Kickoff)

In addition to internal testing, these radios have been used at IRI (Kevin told you about that in his guest blog post, technically he was testing both the OM5P and OM5P-AN), at the Mainely SPIRIT off-season in September (every team used this instead of their old DLinks), and at last week’s Israeli off-season (also all teams used this instead of their DLinks). A subset of our Beta Test teams will also be testing the radios and programming tools for the at-home configuration (AP mode).

There are still some bugs we’re working out with the firmware, but we’re excited for this new solution.

Good luck this season!

so… 2 ports for roborio + camera + tether = ???

You can use one of the USB ports for a USB camera instead of using up an ethernet port.

AFAIK tethers and cameras can interface with the RoboRIO through USB as well.

Tethers only if you had iTunes installed… which we learned very late in the season.

Really? Something to do with Bonjour?

Cue an endless debate about the ethics of posting the FRC special price here.

mDNS, but yes.

I am in no way telling people to post or not post, etc. That said, my interpretation is that FIRST/AndyMark and Open Mesh have a contract which forbids them from sharing the price publicly. As a FIRST team, you have no such contract with either party, and therefore no obligation to not share the price. Further, in my mind, it is not in violation of Gracious Professionalism to share the price, as no one has asked us not to share it, just that FIRST/AndyMark may not, and similarly, no one has implied that we should not.

I’m not telling anyone to post/not post the price either; I just suspect someone will regardless. And Kate made it pretty clear the price isn’t supposed to be public, so there’s an argument to be made for respecting that.

The way I read it, she did not make it clear one way or the other about it being public: she wrote

we (FIRST & AndyMark) can’t publish the lower price due to contractual obligations

which almost seemed to emphasize that we (that is FIRST and AndyMark) cannot, but not necessarily that others cannot.

Where do I plug in my two PCDuino’s that run our 2 image processing cameras. We don’t use the RoboRIO resources for image processing.

Do I have to buy a network switch?

Can we still use the old Bridge for the advanced users?

I am not sure I like the reduced capability.

And here we go…

The issue is that the price point is exclusive to FIRST teams, and not intended to be viewed by anyone not affiliated a FIRST team. If the price were posted here, it will be viewed by non-FIRST people, which OpenMesh thinks could impact their business, hence the NDA for FIRST and AndyMark.

Thank you. That is a fair point.

Nothing unethical about publishing the price. They had several opportunities to ask teams not to share the price (i.e. on the blog post, on the page with the price, etc) and they, to my knowledge, have not done so. They have merely explained why they aren’t sharing the price. Their contract prohibits them from sharing it publicly. Them, not us. If they didn’t want us to ever say how much it costs teams, they would have asked us not to. I don’t really see what the issue is here.

Ok…so someone please just share with the rest of us a narrow range of $$ that includes the cost of the radio, thus avoiding publicizing the cost POINT ( more than X but less than Y will do just fine for now:D

More than $0 and less than $1000

That is what I think as well.

I think First, Open Mesh, Andymark all realize they cannot stop people from posting the price. They probably prefer that you do not. Personally I will not, but will not (I hope :slight_smile: ) get into an extended ethical debate about it. Even on the Andymark website, apparently, you will only be able to see the price & purchase from your official team account. So it is not particularly public there. Since it requires a sign in to see the price, they could add verbiage asking that you do not disclose the price. Probably not enforceable from a practical sense. It will keep you from using it to negotiate with vendors that have low price guarantees since it not an “advertised” price.

While nothing would prevent a team from posting the special price here, teams would be well advised to remember that if they make it EASY for people to give FIRST teams a special price, then they are likely to get special prices in the future.

If teams choose to make it a pain in the butt to give FIRST teams a special price, well, don’t expect to get special prices in the future.


This routers seems really expensive for the features and specs it lists on the website. Am I missing something that justifies the routers cost?