They used the MAX HD2 Mini on the rover and a Balance 210 in mission control. The inclusion of the Balance 210 router in their networking solution allowed them to take advantage of SpeedFusion bandwidth bonding. This allowed them to unplug one of the WAN connections, simulating a network fault, from the MAX HD2 Mini and still have control over the rover. This gave them the best balance of speed and reliability.
The Robotics Team ordered their Pepwave router three months in advance of the completion to allow time to mount and integrate it into the rover. They printed a base by 3D printing to affix the MAX HD2 Mini allowing the antennas maximum clearance. Their Balance 210 router took advantage of SpeedFusion bandwidth bonding. Once the router was installed, they configured the two routers following the online guides and were able to successfully run speed tests using the PepVPN test and analyzer.
The deployment of MAX HD2 Mini and Balance 210 allowed them to communicate with the rover as if they were on a local network, allowing them easier development of network related features for their rover.
Using the PepVPN Test tool, they tested a single AT&T connection and recorded an average speed of 0.7 Mbps. When they tested the combined AT&T and Verizon connections, they recorded an average speed of 1.13 Mbps, a 61% increase in bandwidth. When using external network tests, their average speeds were 27.3 Mbps down and 11.1 Mbps up.
The lightweight nature of the Max HD2 Mini allowed them to use it in a weight critical situation. The SpeedFusion Bandwidth Bonding allowed them to operate the rover without worrying about network failures.
Our previous networking solution wasn’t reliable enough to guarantee mission success. We needed a reliable solution that could handle the loss of one of the cellular connections and still function reliably.
Eric Loy, Team Captain, West Virginia University Robotics Team