FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Radio Silence

Jun 03, 2016 Written by Kate Pilotte, Kit Of Parts Manager & Kevin O'Connor, Robotics Engineer.


The Open-Mesh OM5P-AN radios used in the 2016 FIRST STRONGHOLD season were great for our use case in so many ways (smaller form factor, effective random backoff, etc.), but alas, as of June 1, they are not available for purchase! Why? Because they’re not legal for sale per the Federal Communications Commission 14-30, ET Docket No. 13-39 (specifically the modification to 2.1033(b)(13)). Basically, the open nature of the firmware was too permissive, and regulations are now in place to make sure that wireless firmware meets specific requirements.

Open Mesh has a new radio, the OM5P-AC, which we’re currently evaluating for the 2017 season, however we can’t yet definitively say that it’ll take the OM5P-AN’s place. In parallel, we’re working to make sure that the OM5P-AN will still work and be FRC-legal for the 2017 season, but we can’t commit to that yet either. If we can go in this direction, Open Mesh will work with us to get the FRC specific firmware signed off and legal for purchase.

We totally get that this is frustrating to those of you that invested in the –AN and even more so to those counting on getting new ones for off-season events. We’re sorry we don’t have firm answers for you yet.

Meanwhile, if you’re attending an off-season, here are some things for you to know:

  • You can still use the OM5P-ANs (just don’t try to sell any).
  • You can also use the old DLink DAP-1522 radios, but will need to manually configure them per the instructions posted in the 2014 Control System Screensteps.
  • If you’re really stuck and have no radio, please contact and we may be able to loan you a used radio from event Spare Parts cases (while supplies last).

As we confirm the unknowns mentioned above, we’ll keep you posted.

Kate & Kevin

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It would be better if it had more than two ports.  Think that teams will connect to the RoboRio and an AXIS Camera via Ethernet, with that setup, how do you tether without disconnecting either device?  Having to add an addition switch just for testing/debugging/pit usage is problematic at best. 

Just my 2 cents.

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