Using hotspots at worlds

Just wondering, we’re thinking of using iPad’s at worlds for scouts, instead of using paper and losing it in the mess of the week. Does anyone know if having hot spots for a couple teams of kids as scouts would be an issue? Just wondering, I have access to a couple from my school, AT&T, Verizon and TMobile, but just thinking it may cause issues with competitions?

Thanks and have a great day

I know that the convention center charges $50 for internet but I think Vex might have internet avaliable. I am not quite sure about the hotspot idea though.

Not sure about this year, but in the past:

  1. VEX had the convention center turn off the normal Wi-Fi they have in the building to prevent it from interfering with the robots. So, you couldn’t pay for convention center Wi-Fi.

  2. There were “No Wi-Fi” signs posted throughout the venue, and VEX used a system to monitor this and enforce compliance. Again, this was to help ensure good robot performance. Note that this in particular would prohibit hotspots.

  3. VEX does not provide any type of internet access that is available throughout the venue. In the past, they have had a small “social media” area in the lobby where some Wi-Fi was available, though I believe bandwidth was limited.

Again, this was how it has been in the past. I would imagine the rules will be similar this year but I couldn’t find anything specific with some quick searching.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t assume that you can use hotspots.


Some searching will find you information about VEXNet and that it uses the Wifi frequencies. VEX goes to great length to keep “pit channels” and “field channels” separate and available for each use.

I bring a scanner to all my events to make sure we are not overloading the Wifi bands. You would be surprised on how much radio noise is around the arena and around the specific fields. All the radio noise isn’t good for the robot connections.

While paper seems to be wasteful, it has one of the lowest RF noise levels, it’s a semi-secure transmission and has great error recovery. So it continues to be you best bet.

As a sailor and a beach person, I’ve always loved semaphore. Maybe you can teach your scouts how to do that and send the data across the floor. I will tell you that it’s not optimized to send digits, so you might want to think about how you compress your data.

There is always Morse Code, you can do flashlights to send the data (no lasers please) to the data team.

Of course, standard text messages on your phones would work, since that is 1800-1900 MHZ, well away from the 2.4 and 5 ghz wifi bands.