Current Best-Practices for Linking with Brandmeister


J M
 

What are the current best practices for setting up a link with Brandmeister to do a three-way transcode between DMR, YSF, and D-STAR? We’ve been running XLX330/311070/#83603 for awhile know using xlxd to support D-STAR and DMR and YSFReflector for YSF and linking the two with MMDVMBridge. Currently we’re using ambed for the transcoder with a 3-chip DVstick33. We’ve been seeing a lot of instability with the BM link/transcoding which also messes up the YSF connection. Getting tired of having to play “restart the services to find which one failed”.

 

  1. What is the current best way to link to BrandMeister?

 

  1. Is there a better way to utilize the AMBE DVStick33 dongle than ambed? Ambed “Wastes” one of the chips in the dongle because it can only initialize them in pairs.

 

We’re open to redoing all the pieces, but I’m not finding a clear picture particularly on how to integrate with BM DMR.

 

Thanks.

 

N8EI


Patrick Perdue
 

A couple of things:


In my experience, requesting an XLX interlink to your reflector from a Brandmeister master server works pretty well. They would prefer you do it that way or use OpenBridge. In my setup, using XLX interlink on 3101, it's reasonably stable, especially after the recent hotspot security requirement. Given this, you can probably do everything you want without using HBlink3 or any of the tools from DVSwitch at all, allowing XLXD to manage the connection to BM, as well as transcoding to DSTAR and YSF.


With ambed, you need two vocoders for every module on the reflector you wish to transcode, meaning you will always need a minimum of two. No transcoding required for DMR to YSF, but any of those modes to or from DSTAR will use both vocoder chips -- one to decode and one to encode. Only having one vocoder on XLXD would be pointless even if it did initialize that way. This isn't a DVSwitch related issue.


On 12/17/2020 8:12 PM, J M wrote:

What are the current best practices for setting up a link with Brandmeister to do a three-way transcode between DMR, YSF, and D-STAR? We’ve been running XLX330/311070/#83603 for awhile know using xlxd to support D-STAR and DMR and YSFReflector for YSF and linking the two with MMDVMBridge. Currently we’re using ambed for the transcoder with a 3-chip DVstick33. We’ve been seeing a lot of instability with the BM link/transcoding which also messes up the YSF connection. Getting tired of having to play “restart the services to find which one failed”.

 

  1. What is the current best way to link to BrandMeister?

 

  1. Is there a better way to utilize the AMBE DVStick33 dongle than ambed? Ambed “Wastes” one of the chips in the dongle because it can only initialize them in pairs.

 

We’re open to redoing all the pieces, but I’m not finding a clear picture particularly on how to integrate with BM DMR.

 

Thanks.

 

N8EI


J M
 

Well, XLX interlink with a BM server seems to be the root of the problem I'm experiencing which is why I'm asking if there are better alternatives. Right now MMDVMBridge is communicating with xlxd running on the same host locally. I'm pulling XLX:4001 in with MMDVMBridge and then sending that to a YSFReflector running on the same host as well (and obviously the reverse). Without any logged reason the DMR <> MMDVMBridge connection will cease functioning properly. If receiving a YSF transmission, MMDVM is keying up in the log but there is no audio and xlxd does not seem to "see" the transmission properly. Periodically the xlxd log will report strange errors about "localhost xlxd: ambed 1552 of 414 packets timed out" when this happens. D-STAR works for a period of time and then everything about xlxd will degrade. We were not having this problem before the introduction of the DMR Interlink (D-STAR and YSF were served directly by xlxd).

I'm trying to figure out a way to decouple DMR/BM from xlxd so that D-STAR and YSF can survive through these DMR hiccups we're seeing.


 

Your problem  is your ambe dongle. Dropped one of them in my system and I got the same results. A pair may work better.  Reverted back to my single 3006


From: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io> on behalf of J M <jason@...>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 12:36:11 PM
To: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [DVSwitch] Current Best-Practices for Linking with Brandmeister
 
Well, XLX interlink with a BM server seems to be the root of the problem I'm experiencing which is why I'm asking if there are better alternatives. Right now MMDVMBridge is communicating with xlxd running on the same host locally. I'm pulling XLX:4001 in with MMDVMBridge and then sending that to a YSFReflector running on the same host as well (and obviously the reverse). Without any logged reason the DMR <> MMDVMBridge connection will cease functioning properly. If receiving a YSF transmission, MMDVM is keying up in the log but there is no audio and xlxd does not seem to "see" the transmission properly. Periodically the xlxd log will report strange errors about "localhost xlxd: ambed 1552 of 414 packets timed out" when this happens. D-STAR works for a period of time and then everything about xlxd will degrade. We were not having this problem before the introduction of the DMR Interlink (D-STAR and YSF were served directly by xlxd).

I'm trying to figure out a way to decouple DMR/BM from xlxd so that D-STAR and YSF can survive through these DMR hiccups we're seeing.


J M
 

You mean there's a hardware problem with the AMBE dongle? It's DVStick33 with three transcoder channels so it shouldn't be resource exhaustion.


Patrick Perdue
 

Though I am using DVSwitch for part of my bridge, the way I'm hosting things now is that XLXD itself is acting as a YSF reflector, compiled with changes to the source to autolink module A to the room. The YSF reflector Registry officially supports XLXD now, so I don't need to run a separate service to host YSF. Thus, MMDVM_Bridge isn't needed to make that connection. I am using HBlink connected to 4001 to bridge from XLX to both the regular and prime TGIF servers, then DVSwitch to connect that to ASL, but BM, YSF and DStar are not using DVSwitch to make any part of that connection. I have a pair of ThumbDV's connected remotely (XLXD lives on a nearby VPS, two dongles are connected to a repurposed 2011 Mac Mini running Stretch in my house) and I can go months without restarting anything.

If my home internet goes down, which rarely happens, transcoding to/from DStar is messed up until the connection is re-established, but everything else is fine. I don't have to manually do anything to make that happen.

If I do need to restart a service, say, to upgrade the DVSwitch binaries or something like that, only the connection between the digital modes and ASL is broken for the duration.

Not saying this is necessarily the best solution, but it works for me.


On 12/18/2020 8:59 AM, Ernie Gm7kbk wrote:
Your problem  is your ambe dongle. Dropped one of them in my system and I got the same results. A pair may work better.  Reverted back to my single 3006


From: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io> on behalf of J M <jason@...>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 12:36:11 PM
To: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [DVSwitch] Current Best-Practices for Linking with Brandmeister
 
Well, XLX interlink with a BM server seems to be the root of the problem I'm experiencing which is why I'm asking if there are better alternatives. Right now MMDVMBridge is communicating with xlxd running on the same host locally. I'm pulling XLX:4001 in with MMDVMBridge and then sending that to a YSFReflector running on the same host as well (and obviously the reverse). Without any logged reason the DMR <> MMDVMBridge connection will cease functioning properly. If receiving a YSF transmission, MMDVM is keying up in the log but there is no audio and xlxd does not seem to "see" the transmission properly. Periodically the xlxd log will report strange errors about "localhost xlxd: ambed 1552 of 414 packets timed out" when this happens. D-STAR works for a period of time and then everything about xlxd will degrade. We were not having this problem before the introduction of the DMR Interlink (D-STAR and YSF were served directly by xlxd).

I'm trying to figure out a way to decouple DMR/BM from xlxd so that D-STAR and YSF can survive through these DMR hiccups we're seeing.


 

Its not a hardware problem. Only 2 channels  are being used. With the third not being used.  That's where the problem lies. You need a pair. 


From: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io> on behalf of Patrick Perdue <patrick@...>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 3:12:06 PM
To: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [DVSwitch] Current Best-Practices for Linking with Brandmeister
 

Though I am using DVSwitch for part of my bridge, the way I'm hosting things now is that XLXD itself is acting as a YSF reflector, compiled with changes to the source to autolink module A to the room. The YSF reflector Registry officially supports XLXD now, so I don't need to run a separate service to host YSF. Thus, MMDVM_Bridge isn't needed to make that connection. I am using HBlink connected to 4001 to bridge from XLX to both the regular and prime TGIF servers, then DVSwitch to connect that to ASL, but BM, YSF and DStar are not using DVSwitch to make any part of that connection. I have a pair of ThumbDV's connected remotely (XLXD lives on a nearby VPS, two dongles are connected to a repurposed 2011 Mac Mini running Stretch in my house) and I can go months without restarting anything.

If my home internet goes down, which rarely happens, transcoding to/from DStar is messed up until the connection is re-established, but everything else is fine. I don't have to manually do anything to make that happen.

If I do need to restart a service, say, to upgrade the DVSwitch binaries or something like that, only the connection between the digital modes and ASL is broken for the duration.

Not saying this is necessarily the best solution, but it works for me.


On 12/18/2020 8:59 AM, Ernie Gm7kbk wrote:
Your problem  is your ambe dongle. Dropped one of them in my system and I got the same results. A pair may work better.  Reverted back to my single 3006


From: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io> on behalf of J M <jason@...>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2020 12:36:11 PM
To: main@DVSwitch.groups.io <main@DVSwitch.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [DVSwitch] Current Best-Practices for Linking with Brandmeister
 
Well, XLX interlink with a BM server seems to be the root of the problem I'm experiencing which is why I'm asking if there are better alternatives. Right now MMDVMBridge is communicating with xlxd running on the same host locally. I'm pulling XLX:4001 in with MMDVMBridge and then sending that to a YSFReflector running on the same host as well (and obviously the reverse). Without any logged reason the DMR <> MMDVMBridge connection will cease functioning properly. If receiving a YSF transmission, MMDVM is keying up in the log but there is no audio and xlxd does not seem to "see" the transmission properly. Periodically the xlxd log will report strange errors about "localhost xlxd: ambed 1552 of 414 packets timed out" when this happens. D-STAR works for a period of time and then everything about xlxd will degrade. We were not having this problem before the introduction of the DMR Interlink (D-STAR and YSF were served directly by xlxd).

I'm trying to figure out a way to decouple DMR/BM from xlxd so that D-STAR and YSF can survive through these DMR hiccups we're seeing.


J M
 

I'm not sure I understand your comment about the channels then. I should only need two channels to transcode between D-STAR and DMR within xlxd via ambed. Isn't the point of MMDVMBrdige/DVSwitch to translate between DMR and YSF by changing the data stream but not needing to be transcoded becuase YSF and DMR is the same AMBE version?