Bridging AllStarLink to other modes.


Steve N4IRS
 

I was forwarded a post from Doug WA3DSP concerning interconnection to other services/modes on the HAMVOIP list. I have seen in the past that Doug considers himself the guardian of all good audio and AllStarLink. That is open to discussion. I think this needs to be addressed in the community. Great audio quality is a hallmark of AllStarLink and no one wants to compromise that. Another feature that singles out AllStarLink is flexibility. People have done some amazing things with AllStarLink. There are nodes and hubs that control what type of traffic pass through the node or hub. There are quite a few nodes and hubs that welcome experimentation. Connecting a foreign mode or service to a AllStarLink node is never a good idea without prior discussion.

 One of the many features of AllStarLink that drew me in over 10 years ago, was the ability to add features and devices. One very important fact is that it is open source. Well, at least the official AllStarLink distribution is. Channel drivers are available for EchoLink, D-Star, TLB and USRP. If it's not there, it can be added. AllStarLink welcomes people to add to and modify the open source available in github. If you have an idea, bring it up, submit a pull request and let's see how it fits.

 People are going to extend the capabilities of AllStarLink, that is a given. Those extensions may not be to everyone's liking. Under the banner of DVSwitch, a few of us have been building tools for bridging between different voice networks. One of those is AllStarLink. It does not matter if the purpose of the bridge is to expose analog users to the capabilities of a digital network or to display the capabilities of AllStarLink to a group of digital voice users that are not aware of a large network of open source analog nodes. There are quite a few hams that do not know about AllStarLink. This gives them a taste. I'm pretty sure every one of the digital voice radios in use support analog. Do we really want to display a negative attitude to other communities? I can tell you that not everyone on the digital voice networks want to see a bridge to analog. They don't want "those noisy analog signals" on their network. This is not a discussion of which voice mode is better. Nor is it about how to make digital voice sound better. I tell people building bridges the same thing, Don't just drop a analog bridge onto a digital channel without discussion first. One digital network I have seen is reporting over 10K calls per hour. (That might be a interesting stat to collect for AllStarLink)

 Bridging networks is not the purpose of AllStarLink and I would rather not see discussions of various networks on the AllStarLink user list. There are other places for that. The open source nature of AllStarLink lends itself to extension. Just be aware what you are doing and who it will effect.

73, Steve N4IRS

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