Internet at competitions

Alright, so I did some reading, and FIRST says that accessing the internet at competitions is a no-go.

And yet in the two that I went to, I’m pretty sure I saw some browsers open, perhaps even AIM if memory serves me right.

One thing I did notice was the mention of not having phone lines for access, which tends to make me think that the rule was put in back when dialup was the norm.

So is this rule just an anachronism, one of those rules that nobody follows (see also saving seats), or something that people are getting away with?

At the Canadian region one of our sponsers was Bell Canada. We were provided some DSL hookups. We installer a router at a desk in the pits with 1 computer and 3 hookups for laptops. This was kept next to the Admin table so that an eye could be kept on content being looked at. Teams asked to put a wireless router on but we did not allow. All that it would take is someone walking by while someone is on a questionable site and we would get a bad name. FIRST did not provide the service. If others did something it would have been done on a regional level.

I was able to browse and post on Chief Delphi during the UTC New England regional in Hartford, CT. I don’t know who provided the signal and had no trouble logging on (no password required). The signal was very strong and everywhere I went inside I never lost it. I almost permanently keep my 802.11b wireless cards in both my Toshiba laptops. As soon as I powered up at UTC the signal meter in the icon tray told me I had a strong signal. I hit Internet Explorer and was instantly online so I also know they also had a broadband or T3 connection. I didn’t see any signs advertising the wireless or let alone forbidden it.

i think its more that FIRST doesnt want to be held responsible for the internet and if questionable material is pulled up or not. I know that some teams get special permission to have wifi points and stuff. I know at UCF regional soap has one set up and thats for them archiving the video’s and stuff and i dont know if they mean to make it public but i know that iwas on there wifi at one point

The rule he is referring to is [rule=10.11]Rule 10.11 (5th line)[/rule].

If my memory serves me well, I recollect that, at St. Louis, we were denied power from outlets, establishment of our own networks, and internet access. However, at Midwest, we were able to use power outlets and set up a network. I too remember seeing people at MWR and Nationals with internet connections but i am not sure where from, it may have been from cell phones, though this can be ridiculously expensive!

Personally, i really don’t see what is wrong with allowing internet access. Many teams’ scouting systems are so advanced that enabling web connections really would make little difference in their overall “performance”…and besides, it’s always nice to pay a visit to CD to leave updates and hear everyone else’s input! :smiley:

Most likely FIRST say that because they are not going to provide internet access to participating teams on their own. Whatever internet there was at the events, they are mostly from the Venue that already have them in place. A lot of event center and stadium have wireless internet on their own. Sometimes they don’t have any network security preventing you from connecting into them and browse the internet.

Just because it is there doesn’t mean it is for you to use in a FIRST event.

I remember at Atlanta there was a network you can access for a while in the Dome. After a short while, you can’t connect to it anymore because they realize thousands of teenagers with 802.11b/g wireless card are trying to get in from their laptop and surf the web.

So, be considerate of others when you are at the competition, this is only one of the many things you should think about before you do them. FIRST cannot enforce Gracious Professionalism on the participants in this program, you will have to do it on your own.

Those in Denver and San Diego have wireless high-speed internet access through Ricochet. Just hope the San Diego teams can pull together a reginal next year. But as a worker of a San Diego based hosting company we our given Ricochet modems. Not to mention I can grab my Nokia and use it to connect to the internet.

With places that offered wifi I’m supprised no one tried ARP cache poisoning to make it seem as if no one was using the network. We do it at a local coffie shop that offers wifi to help police it as well as kill leechers.

At one of the regionals I had my laptop out with a USB cable hooked to my verizon wireless cell phone and I used my cell phone as my modem.

ah, I get it.

I guess this won’t be a problem for me next year at Palmetto–since I’m going to be a USC student at that point, I’ll have all the authorization I need to access their networks, including wirelessly.

Just to throw out an idea to y’all and see what happens…what if someone with authorization to access the internet would IM or text team members with queuing info, match scores, and the like?

Our team also made good use of this at the regional. A couple of kids brought their laptops, and there were outlets available in the upper level of the theater, as well as in our pits. I’m fairly certain that it was 782 that provided this service, although I could be wrong, as there were signs posted on the walls throughout the theater and pits that Wireless Internet was provided (Was this provided by the meadows or first?) I think there was a sign on the staircase near the concessions and where some of the volunteers sat.

EDIT: Also, at Philly, I believe there was one team that set up a wireless router. We had issues connecting, however, as I think they had a WEP key on it. Also, trying from my seat in the Georgiadome, I could not connect or even detect a wireless network, although i saw some people on the internet near the pits.

We attended the Pittsburgh regional held at the Petersen Events Center (University of Pittsburgh fieldhouse) where wireless internet was not readily available. Periodically we could catch a very weak signal from a nearby Pitt or Carnegie-Mellon network, but no internet access.

We set up a router and had a 3 laptop network going with no ill effects or attention from FIRST. I saw only one other wireless network, which was, strangely enough, a network used by FIRST.

Prior to going to Pittsburgh, I had contacted someone from the Buckeye Regional committee concerning the use of routers and wireless networks at their regional. (I couldn’t find a contact name for Pittsburgh or I would have done so there as well.) This person contacted FIRST directly on my behalf. I received an e-mail OK to use our router and wireless network as long as it was for scouting purposes only and we did not have internet access. That was the verdict directly from FIRST. I took a copy of this e-mail with me to both regionals.

As for Atlanta, we didn’t try to operate our network due to the distance involved. But I too noticed that wireless internet was readily available in the Georgia Dome. I never noticed it being shut down. We were able to access frequently from Thursday through Saturday with no problems.

I also attended the Canadian regional and used one of those connections someone spoke of earlier to check my e-mail.

Quick sidebar here: If you are within a day’s drive of Toronto/Mississauga, it is worth making the trip to the Canadian Regional. The site is great. And Toronto is an awesome city to visit!!