During the BETA testing I was very impressed with the wireless capabilities when paired with the LabVIEW front panel and looking forward to debugging my program and changing constants wirelessly at practice fields and in the pits during competition. Now I find that even though each team has a unique IP address you can’t use wireless in the pits according to rule <T02>: “Radio control mode of ROBOT operation is not permitted areas anywhere outside the ARENA. ROBOTS must only be operated by tether when not within the ARENA.”
Do multiple wireless networks interfere with each other? Couldn’t we have our routers on wireless B while the arena ones use N if there is any interference?
Eh, even though its probably “safe” to run robots wirelessly in the practice area, FIRST’s probably just doing it “just in case”. I don’t know too much about wireless networks, but I know it can get iffy sometimes.
Though I totally don’t have a problem connecting one long ethernet cable to the cRIO versus 15 serial cables strung together and falling apart.
I can confidently say that yes, they do interfere with each other. 2 days ago we had a small local competition called BunnyBot, and my team and several others were using the new control system. We were tied for first place for matches won, so of course Murphy’s Law strikes and our wrt router suddenly stopped functioning as we began the match. 30 min and 2 forfeited matches later, we had fixed it - for some reason it had decided to stop recognizing its assigned ip; we could not communicate with it. We ended up resetting it and configuring it from scratch. Later in the competition, our wga acted up and refused to connect to our wrt. We had previously tested everything for hours at some senior center with floor space we could borrow, and nothing ever acted up. The only difference between the testing and competing in that competition were the wireless networks being used simultaneously by other teams.
I can totally understand why first is banning wireless comm - with hundreds of teams testing/uploading in the same confined area, there would presumably be a lot more problems. Now that I think of it, (correct me if I’m mistaken) there are only ~22 channels in the 5Gh band required by first, so it appears to be impossible for that many wireless networks to coexist in the same area.
During the NI training, there was discussion of the possibility that wireless robot operation might be permitted on practice fields. They’d most likely be restricted to the lower frequency band, with the higher one reserved for the competition field(s).
Robots not on a field would still be required to use tethers. I imagine that teams will be told to leave their wireless routers at home.
Just make sure to keep an eye on the cable, ethernet isn’t exactly the most robust.
Or have spares since it’s pretty cheap/free from your school.