Is it legal to connect to local webserver with wifi?

We’re looking at electronic scouting by setting up a web server on a raspberry pi, then using tablets to connect to that pi via wifi. All LAN, no internet connection. Is this legal at competition events?

It’s not clear to me yet from reading other threads.

Thanks-- Andy

E16. No wireless communication. Teams may not set up their own 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz or 5GHz) wireless communication (e.g. access points or ad-hoc networks) in the venue.

edit: clarified headline


It is not legal. You cannot create any wi-fi connection point at an event.

Transferring data from scouts to a central computer has to be done hardwired or removable media or some use QR encoded data and a camera on the collection computer.


Interestingly you could connect to an internet connected collection server using cellular data but I’ve found cellular coverage at many event severely lacking making this choice very problematic.


Thanks for both for your input. The Event Rules doc does make it pretty clear – that should have been my first stop. We’ll look at the other options.

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You might want to look into bluetooth.
Should be usable between pi and tablets.

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Last time I checked, Bluetooth was wireless communication.

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Bluetooth, being essentially 2.4ghz, is also ruled out. Since the basis of the rule is not to interfere with the field system, anything transmitting on the 2.4ghz band is not allowed. You will be penalized if the FTA or other officials detect your Bluetooth network (and they do use detectors to try to keep people from breaking the “no wireless networks” rule.)

The rule only bans 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for bluetooth.

As usual, some more reading is frequently required.
The rule states:
Teams may not set up their own 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz or 5GHz)
wireless communication

Bluetooth is not 802.11.

I assure you that lots of wireless communications occur at events.
I doubt that I will need to surrender my cell phone when I enter the event this year!

Don’t rely on internet for scouting

Someone who has relied on internet for scouting


Interesting, so you all are telling me that the words of the rule are not the rule?

I’d never make it as a lawyer. Or a legislator.

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Here’s confirmation on the legality of Bluetooth from the Q&A

Rule E16 states “No wireless communication. Teams may not set up their own 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz or 5GHz) wireless communication (e.g access points or ad-hoc networks) in the venue”. An example specifies “A wireless hot spot created by a cellular device, camera, smart TV, etc. is considered an access point.” I have interpreted this to mean that a hot spot created by a cellular device that utilizes bluetooth connection, that operates on 802.15.1, is allowed. Is this accurate?

Yes, Bluetooth is permitted.


Thanks for clearing that up.

The words of the rule are the rule.

But the words of the headline - the bold title part - are not part of the rule.

This is noted in the Game and Season Manual, Section 1.6:

Some sections and rules include colloquial language, also called headlines, in an effort to convey an
abbreviated intent of the rule or rule set. This language is differentiated using bold blue text. Any
disagreement between the specific language used in the rules and the colloquial language is an error,
and the specific rule language is the ultimate authority. If you discover a disparity, please let us know and
we will correct it.

But it’s not spelled out in the Events Rules Manual (the “evergreen” rules). Sigh.


ftfm. Now I can see that it’s a headline, not a rule.

Something else I forgot to add is HAM radio is up for game if you’ve got a mentor or member with a license. :wink:

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I stand corrected, and now have to wonder why they ban wireless at all. If some communication is allowed on the 2.4ghz band, why not all?

Wireless Ethernet networks are used to play the game.
Unauthorized Ethernet hotspots can interfere with operating the game networks.

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As a potential alternative…

We use tablets for our scouting, but don’t rely on any network communications at all to consolidate the data. At the end of the match, each scoring tablet generates its own unique barcode, which the “master” tablet then scans and transfers to our database.

Here’s what it looked like last year.