[App_rpt] Asterick controller to a CAT controller

Jim Duuuude telesistant at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 8 06:11:26 EST 2006


Well here's some documentation that I just whipped up
(not bad with 2 broken hands). You can tell I was sorta
getting slap happy near the end (with my dry humor).

Interfacing Alien Worlds (or linked systems at least)

When given the task of providing usable communications between
alien worlds, one first must analyze the similarities and
differences between them. Then you need to find the most
efficient way of dealing with the differences.

One of these 'worlds' is the 'conventional' radio system based
on controllers that have a 'common link path', that is where
controllers are linked together thru permanent RF links connected
to a controllers "link" port(s) and to provide linking between
repeater systems (connected to "repeater" ports on their associated
controller(s)), the controller opens an audio and control channel
between the repeater's port and the link's port.

In this manner, several repeaters on one controller (each on their
own repeater ports) and one or more links to other controllers (each on 
their
own link ports) a multiple repeater linked network can be created.

Each node has DTMF commands that it can do. Generally, there is some
standard for the repeater functions on each node, and therefore some
standard form (digit-wise) for these commands.

There is also provided some form of being able to command a node (not
your local repeater, but another one on the link) that, by its very nature
differs from the commands for local node use (non-conflicting digit
sequences, etc).

One common example of this is to start local commands with an asterisk (*).
Remote node commands start with a pound (#) plus the node number. Say, for
example, you wanted to ask you local system what time it is. You might enter
*98 on your local repeater, but to ask another node (in this example node 
123),
you might enter (#12398). This is a practical example of local/distant 
control
differentiation, since by convention, all local commands start with (*) and
all link (distant) commands start with (#).

>From a technical standpoint, its also an easy an practical way to implement
controllers and links. A link port has a DTMF receiver listening for its
'addressing' code (like #123, in the example above). When it hears it, it
listens for the rest of the command, and does the appropriate thing. All 
link
ports have a DTMF receiver listening to the same audio (well, they're linked
together, of course), but only the proper one reacts (based upon the prefix
code).

When you have a fixed link (and often single path link) system, this is an
excellent and time-proven design. Many, if not all of the amateur repeater
controllers are currently based on this type of archetecture.

App_rpt (Allstar, etc) definitely walks to the beat of a different drummer.

First of all, there are no 'hard' or 'permanent' links. Since the linking
media is TCP/IP, thus allowing connections from basically anywhere to 
anywhere,
links are completey dynamic and at will. Any node can theoretically be 
connected
to any node in any fashion. Several sets of links (not connected to each 
other)
may be operating at any given time. Yes, the software does support the 
concept
of 'establish a link and keep putting back up if it goes down'; Even these
are 'soft' links. Additionally, since the link media is TCP/IP, out-of-band
data may be sent between link endpoints, thus eliminating the need (or even 
the
desire, for that matter) for in-band (such as DTMF) signalling between link
endpoints.

There are 2 very serious archetectural differences between app_rpt and
a 'conventional' system.

The first one is that all system endpoints including
repeaters, remote bases, and alien system interfaces, are separate nodes 
(and have separate
node numbers assigned to them). Normally, a remote base is part of a repater
system. Not here. A remote base is a separate independent entity.

The second one is that you have to essentially 'speak' to a remote node to 
give
it commands. Unlike a conventional system where all of the link entities are 
on
a common talk path, and all have DTMF receivers decoding all of your digits,
you have to put your local system into remote command mode (to a particular 
node),
then all the DTMF you send will go to the remote node, rather then being 
interpreted
by the local system. Thats now app_rpt performs differentiation between 
local and
remote commands. All app_rpt commands begin with (*) asterisk. The (#) pound
is used to exit things, like for example to exit command mode. Obvoiusly, 
since
all commands start with (*) and cant contain (#), when youre in local 
command mode
it knows what to send to the remote, and when youre done with it.

So, whether you are controlling another repeater, a remote base, or an alien 
network,
you have to invoke command mode to the node that you are intending to 
control.

Interface from app_rpt to an alien network is accomplished via a node 
configured as
a repeater in duplex mode 0, and the propagate_dtmf and linktolink options 
both
enabled.

Clearly there exists a very serious incompability in the concepts of DTMF 
command
format and archetecture.

First of all, the app_rpt needs to respond as if it were another link node, 
listening for
its prefix code, then acting appropriately. This can be accomplished with 
the inxlat
configuration directive. First, there needs to be a sequence, which is to be 
'turned into'
a (*) as far as the app_rpt is conerned, and also one that is to be 'turned 
into'
a (#) as far as the app_rpt is concerned (you cant use a real * or # since 
so many
of the alien's commands have these characters in them). So, you assign it a 
node number,
say 456. So the sequence 4561 can represent *, and the 4562 can represent # 
( or you can
assign 2 different prefixes, like 456 and 457 if you want it to be 1 digit 
less), but in
any case you put in something like :  inxlat = #456,#457,0123456789ABCD
That would mean: #456 is like (*), #457 is like (#), and just pass any of 
the listed digits
in the 3rd arg, if they are not part of a command.

Now that we have that settled, the app_rpt node needs to send commands to 
the rest of
the link as if it were one of them, meaning prefixed commands. As we already 
know,
the normal (app_rpt) commands on the node that is connected to the alien 
system start
with (*) and cant contain (#) (thats how we do it in app_rpt). so we need to 
be able
to 'create' a way to send a (*) and (#) out the node. So we use outxlat, as 
follows:
outxlat = *7,*0,0123456789#ABCD
This means that *7 get sent out to the alien system as a (*), *0 gets sent 
out as a (#),
and pass any of the digits listed in the 3rd arg if not part of a local 
command.

So, say the ailen system was on allstar node 123. We then want to command 
the alien's
node 765 to do a *98 (like give us its local time).

On your local node you might enter:

*4123 (to put you into command node on 123, which is the alien system)
*076598 (to do the same as if you were entering #76598 on the alien system 
directly on one
         of its repeaters)
#  (to exit command mode on your local node)

These two pieces of translation allow the systems to communicate with each 
other
very nicely and with minimum hassle and/or discomfort for users of either 
system
type.


JIM - WB6NIL






>From: Will <w4wwm at knology.net>
>Reply-To: Asterisk Repeater Controler <app_rpt at lists.illiana.net>
>To: app_rpt at lists.illiana.net
>Subject: [App_rpt] Asterick controller  to a CAT controller
>Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 02:51:48 -0600
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>
>  >>Are you are trying to send DTMF from the asterisk system to the
>Controller B?
>
>Yes,  I need to send DTFM  to controller B.  Asterisk is on controller B
>wired the repeater port as of the few last e-mail post.  On controller B
>there are 3 link ports, port 1 is 2 meters, port 2 is IRLP(node4516) and
>port 3 is the half duplex link (hard wired} to Controller A.  If
>possible I would like Asterisk to send DTMF to control the links.  I
>would also have the IRLP program to send DTMF tones back to Asterisk for
>linkup to any Asterisk nodes, via from Controller A
>
>Controller A is bridged or Hardwired by way of port 3 to Controller B
>port 3. One side of my controls will be coming from Controller A to
>Controller B and the other from B to C
>
>  Anyway if you like you can give me a call on my IRLP node 4516 any
>time. Thanks
>
>Will / W4wwm
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