Skills Field connection

Does the skills field at a tournament have to be connected to the main computer running the tournament? And if so, should this be hard wired with a cat 5 cable? Also, what’s the distance of cable recommended not to exceed?
Thanks

I’ve moved this thread out of the Q&A, since it’s not a rules question. However, I can still provide some insight.

Some events do network their skills field into their main tournament, other do not. The advantage to having it all networked is that it allows you to simply maintain all tournament scores in one database, that can be uploaded to RobotEvents after the event, and also allows for full live publishing of scores on the web. If you don’t have them networked, you will need to import your skills scores on your own. Tournament Manager is designed to allow for an easy import of skills scores in a standalone database.

Yes. Tournament Manager does not officially support wireless networking,

I’m not an expert on this, but I believe you want to keep the cables shorter than 100 feet.

It sounds like you’re running an event. If you are an Event Partner, you should check in with your local RECF rep, they’re a great asset for planning out your tournament. Also, they can give you access to the Event Partner Forums here on VEXforum.com, where you can post questions in the Tournament Manager forum, which is monitored by various TM experts.

At an event we helped at, the Skills Field was in a separate building and the schools’ network did not allow for networking the computers. Instead, we just logged the Skills scores on paper and had a runner take them to the main competition field every so often to be input.

Excellent…thanks everyone. Very helpful!1

I’ve done 300 feet of “good quality CAT5” from laptop to main computer. Any farther than that you should put a hub/switch in the path to boost the signal. CAT6 cable with the twists should easily make that distance.

Having it connected is cool, if there is someone that’s doing the display management they can pop up the current standings during the day. Teams at the top can then watch to see if anyone has bested them and come back for a second run.

Thanks, Foster. I trust your knowledge of networking far more than my own. I’m still grudgingly learning how to use the internet!

Don’t exceed 100m, both 100Base-T and 1000Base-T (most commonly used) are limited to this distance on CAT5 or better cable. There are some timing issues that occur beyond 100m so even using CAT7 cable for example with 100Base-T doesn’t help you go further.

If using a switch/repeater to extend further isn’t practical then use a VDSL2 Ethernet extender and you’ll get 1000m or so although if your event is that big some fiber optic cable would be a much better bet!