FIRSTยฎ Tech Challenge
Team Blast February 15, 2024

Hi ,

Here's some updates and news from FIRSTยฎ Tech Challenge.

In this week's blast: 

๐Ÿ“ถ Tech Tip of the Week โ€” Wi-Fi Signal Strength

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿซ Career Pathways and Industry Certifications 

Tech Tip of the Week

One common question we get is how to determine the Wi-Fi signal strength between the Driver Station and the Robot. Because there are a lot of factors that can play into your robot performance on the field, itโ€™s important to know that your robot is getting the strongest Wi-Fi signal possible. 

Wi-Fi signal strength is measured in dBm (decibel-milliWatts) and is always negative. Typically the range for Wi-Fi is -30dBm to -90dBm; -30dBm is the maximum possible signal strength, and -90dBm is considered too weak of a signal to support Wi-Fi communications. dBm is measured on a logarithmic scale, so comparing dBm values differs from what you would normally consider on a linear scale. Increments of 3dBm indicate doubling/halving signal strength, and increments of 10dBm indicate 10x change in signal strength.

For example, a signal strength of -40dBm is twice as strong as a signal strength of -43dBm, and a signal strength of -67dBm is one-tenth the signal strength of -57dBm. Signal strengths around -40dBm are "Amazing", but rarely achievable in match play. A strength of -60dBm is still considered "Very Good". -67dBm is considered "Good". -70dBm is considered "Okay". Anything less than -80dBm is considered unusable. 

To see the Signal Strength between your Driver Station and the Robot Controller, first ensure that the robot is connected within the Driver Station App. At the top of the Driver Station App is a readout that shows the connected network name, and under it are Ping times and the Channel number of the Wi-Fi connection. Tap that area of the app, and the display will change and instead show the signal strength under the connected network name. Tap again to swap back. 

Knowing your Signal Strength can help you understand how metal on your robot might be affecting your Wi-Fi connection, understand how your robotโ€™s signal may vary depending on the orientation of the robot to the Driver Station, and how external factors (like placing your Driver Station on a metal music stand) can degrade the signal strength. Remember that ensuring a strong Wi-Fi signal strength is just one factor in maintaining optimal robot health.

Tune in next week to learn about Link Speed, which is the other piece of information provided by the Signal Strength readout. 

Career Pathways and Industry Certifications 

FIRST continues to provide pathways to careers through inspiration and advice from industry leaders and opportunities to pursue industry certifications. See how FIRST helps students go from Classrooms to Careers. 

And, check out our four-part Options for Beyond FIRST Tech Challenge blog series: 

๐Ÿ“ Part 1: Choose Your Career Pathway

๐Ÿ“ Part 2: Education

๐Ÿ“ Part 3: Enlistment

๐Ÿ“ Part 4: Employment

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