[Allstar Digital] Bridging AllStarLink to other modes.

Steve Zingman szingman at msgstor.com
Fri Jan 5 15:45:34 EST 2018

  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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