Computer Geekery! :-)

18 Mar

I’m getting to have some “fun” working on our mobile computer WiFi network. We’ve had the mobile network setup since March of last year, but it has had its problems…. The system was delivered and configured by a contractor, and I’m not exactly sure he knows what he is doing.. Needless to say, the network caused problems for us last year, some small, some big..

In our continuing effort to improve our products and the delivery of those products to our customers, we, or namely I, am re-configuring the hardware, purchasing new hardware and conducting extensive testing of the hardware/software, to make sure it all works as designed, heading into our second event of this season.

We’re using “industrial” grade equipment from Ubiquiti Networks, www.UBNT.com. So far from what I have seen, the stuff works great!

We’re using several of their Bullet M2’s, connected to either Omni directional or directional antennas. We have a Rocket attached to two Omni Directional antennas on our trailer, to kick out a very strong signal about .5 miles from the trailer. We just picked up four of the NanoStation M2’s for use at each of our locations around a venue (Timing & Scoring, Tech, Customer Service, Announcing, remore timing loops,etc.) I’ll be testing the connectivity range on the NanoStations next week.

My first test will have me about 3/4 mile away from the trailer with a computer and a NanoStation, to see if I can detect the timing & scoring computer/decoder, and manage the scoring remotely.  Then we’ll setup a network repeater at that location, and I’ll go out of range of the repeater with the laptop, and setup a NanoStation, to see if I can be a total of about 1.5 miles away from the trailer, and still manage the network.

Ultimately, the plan is to have two additional timing loops installed at each venue, with NanoStations sending the signal back to the network, so that we can split each track into three segments, just like in Formula 1, DTM or Moto GP..  We had planned to do this last year with the RFID timing system, but that was a complete failure.  But hey, if you aren’t willing to take a risk, you deserve no rewards!  😉

We’ll have the WiFi equipment setup and the connections robust enough. Then all we’ll have to do is get our hands on the additional decoders and timing loops, then we can play ball! Nobody else in North America is offering segment timing anywhere near the race entry fees we are charging. Sure, you can go run IndyCar, NASCAR or AMA SuperBikes, and get segment timing. But NASA, SCCA, PCA and everybody else? Aint gonna happen!

So yes, the goal is to have Live Timing & Scoring WITH segment timing. Our goal is to be the first in our segment, and I have no reason to believe we wont be!

Then I can day dream, and think of the day we roll out a huge jumbo tron screen to display the live timing and scoring, videos, etc for the fans in attendance. If Circuit Battles is received as well as we all believe it will be, that day could come sooner than we think!

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