Page 1 of 1
ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 09 Jan 2015, 23:55
Happy New Year first of all. You may have noticed from time to time MB6IBK connected to XRF250 B. I am currently running some network bridging experimentation with some fellow amateurs worldwide, the interests spans from Canada and Italy, to the UK the Netherlands and Greece.
The purpose of this exercise is to allow amateurs who live abroad to be able to communicate with their connationals around the world, even if they are accessing the D-STAR network via restricted repeaters. The results are encouraging and at the moment DCS008 D, a module on an Italian reflector, is populated by amateurs who live in areas served by repeaters which have limited functionality.
I am not sure of how many of the Russians living abroad are radio amateurs, but I thought that if some of them wished to connect XRF250 from, say, a repeater only connected to US-TRUST, then my gateway could help. The bridging happens via STARnet, which works as a group callsign routing system. The STARnet routing should be possible through G2 and ircDDB, by replacing [CQCQCQ ] with [STN036 B]. The disconnection can be invoked by using [STN036 Q] but there is a 60 minutes timeout in case you are unable to disconnect manually. You can find the details on http://mb6ibk.no-ip.org/
, this is the dashboard of my gateway, which also powers the STARnet (all running on a modest Raspberry Pi).
I tried it a couple of times and it works well. The good thing is that it's a temporary link and the traffic is all routed via my gateway (already registered on dstar.su). If you think this is beneficial and adds to the Russian D-STAR connectivity I'll be happy to keep it running, if not please let me know and I will remove the link. If you wish to change the timeout to a shorter time, say 15 minutes, this can be done.
73 and all the best to everyone.
ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 10 Jan 2015, 00:08
Our network propose special possibility to access XRF250 from US Trust and ircDDB. Just make zone call to /RK3FWDA, and your call come to XRF250 B as CQCQCQ.
Of course this is not the only magic in our network. Our cross-network gate RK3FWD allows to forward private calls from ircDDB.net and US Trust to our network and back.
So we are not alone in the world
P.S. STARnet is not good technology.
Re: ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 10 Jan 2015, 16:19
с новым годом first of all. Sorry I wasn't aware of the way RK3FWD functions within your network structure, I will try this functionality later today or within the next few days. Does it work just with any gateway? Say, if you connect a gateway to a reflector (take MB6IBK C as an example), will all calls routed to /MB6IBKA be heard on the reflector too, or do you need to setup something specific to make that happen?
Regarding STARnet, it looks more as a new way of using the G2 routing rather than a new technology altogether. But then, D-STAR itself is a relatively limited technology, and this is often an advantage for its simplicity of implementation. I found that STARnet works reasonably well overall, with some minor technical limitations. It helps a lot when people fall within the coverage area of repeaters that have restrictions applied to them. It also lends itself very well when 'roaming' from one repeater to the other.
I also noticed in the XRF250 dashboard that there is someone who seems to be connecting the reflector via DMR. How is this bridging configured?
ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 10 Jan 2015, 17:57
Happy Hew Year!
RK3FWD (BorderGate) is a special gateway system developed by me, that provides functionality of bridging different D-STAR networks. It supports US Trust (using ICOM's RS-RP2C virtual machine, my bridge works as RP2C controller in this case), and natively ircDDB and CCS.
RK3FWD registers all callsigns from internal network in all external networks on their callsign, and callsigns of external networks in internal network. So it is provide possibility of private (direct) calls from network to network transparently.
Zone call to '/RK3FWDA' is a special thing. It works only in one way. All correspondents that using this call should say "Please answer my by private call". It is very useful to initiate call from external networks without re-linking, typically our russian operators in foreign D-STAR "roaming".
I have no plans to open source of my BorderGate.
Now about DMR. I am in process of development our brand new DMR solution, we name it BrandMeister. It is very huge project. The front-end written on C/C++ and front-end's source code is about 27 000 lines and 800 K at this moment.
It provides switching function for different radio-access hardware, like repeaters. It supports different protocols of terminal vendors, provides gateway features for APRS and D-STAR. The solution will be presented at Ham Radio 2015 in Friedrichshafen.
It also stay closed-source, but now by the reason of restrictions of signed NDAs.
Re: ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 11 Jan 2015, 21:17
The BorderGate platform is truly impressive. It looks as if you managed in to overcome all the divisions of D-STAR in one go. Would something like BorderGate be able to bridge ircDDB and QuadNet if implemented somewhere, without creating problems within those networks (or between them)? I have a group of friends who have a number of gateways, some licensed and linked to ircDDB, others using personal callsigns and mostly linked to QuadNet. One of the reasons for us using STARnet is that we want to be able to roam between the ircDDB and the QuadNet access points without losing connectivity, through the STARnet. The system works well but compered to RK3FWD it looks more like a patch. I do understand and appreciate that you want to keep BorderGate as closed source, however would you be keen to lend the system as a test and let us use it? Ideally, it would have to sit between the two networks and use a DCS reflector (or an XRF, if that suits the platform better we may be able to find someone keen to lend us an XRF module for this) as the bridging unit.
Regarding /RK3FWDA, the STARnet offers an additional function: all the XRF250 B users can reply without having to change the UR field and the station connected via the STARnet can roam from one repeater to another *almost* seamlessly, so long as the users bear in mind the G2 technical limitations (i.e. calls can't be routed while on the way, you need to wait the next over). As mentioned above, we use the same gimmick to bridge QuadNet and ircDDB via DCS008 D, it works very well so long as the reflector is up. When the reflector goes down the two networks split (though you can still use the two STARnets separately).
Lastly, the DMR solution also looks very promising. Jonathan G4KLX recently probed his D-STAR followers to make some plans for this future software developments, and one of the things I suggested is that he should find a way of bridging all these systems, with a kind of protocol translation gateway able to communicate to peers around the globe similarly to how true P2P networks function. I don't know if he will ever develop something like that, but if I correctly understand what you say, your work seems to be progressing in that direction. I truly wish you will succeed, as this would be a blow to the division walls being created around the various digital systems. Unfortunately, the amateur radio manufacturers seem to be unable to come to terms regarding a shared standardised digital formats, it would be great if one of us radio amateurs could prove that this network splitting commercial strategies are divisive and counterproductive from the customer's point of view.
I haven't yet started working in DMR as homebrewing seems to be beyond my capabilities at the moment and from my perspective there is no use for radios that cannot be retuned and programmed on the fly. However I had a look at the Yaesu C4FM system Fusion and it looks interesting. Perhaps what makes it better is that the radios supporting it have been designed from with the amateur radio use in mind first, retaining the functionality and flexibility that radio amateurs are used to.
Re: ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 11 Jan 2015, 22:49
I can propose you to create link between our ircDDB and ircDDB of QuadNet. It will add RK3FWD features to QuadNet automatically. BorderGate supports several zone calls and DCS (should be tested again), so there no problem to open possibility of zone call forwarding to your reflector.
About G4KLX. Yes, I see his requests about DMR. But i think he lost too many time. I asked my team want they to invite him. They said no. There are several reasons including NDAs and language barrier (all team speaks Russian including DL3OCK). We still work in current configuration.
System Fusion. Yes, we also in research it. The main problem is the lack of information abut application and trunking protocols from Yaesu. Also you should know that System Fusion and Wires-X has no functionality of personal calls across network. Now we have some progress with remote control wrapping. YSF now has lower priority for us.
As the summary one photo of my testing shack
Re: ircDDB and STARnet
Posted: 13 Jan 2015, 12:19
Thanks a lot, let me ask the guys in Florence what they think about this extra link. Also, note that DDCS008 is hosted by someone of the ircDDB team, if the users like it I think it will be fair to ask the reflector's administrator if they are keen to have this in place - you know how politics go...
Nice and tidy shack over there. And I know that on the other side of the spectrum, the HF, there are some very creative guys in Russia. I can't remember if it was last year or two years ago during a visit to my relatives in the Oryol oblast, my wife and I drove by a house where I saw some huge wire antennae with a folk doing some work in the garden. We stopped and with the help of some translation he invited me to see his shack at the back of the house. He had a lot of homebrew stuff including an 80m radio and an amplifier with valves as big as grapefruits
I don't think those guys work VHF/UHF and networked systems. I wanted to ask that guy but time was an issue as we were on our way to visit some friends. However that was my reason last year to ask how to obtain a licence for a hotspot/repeater in Russia, I thought that if I could set one up and leave it there they would gradually become interested.
These days I am working with a friend to help him validating a method that would make it relatively easy to setup D-STAR RF access points with a sound card instead of the usual DV-RPTR and GMSK modems. At the moment everyone seem to be of the opinion it's extremely difficult to make a sound card repeater working on Linux and, if you manage to, the system doesn't match the performance of a dedicated board. If the new findings about the sound card are correct, the entry cost to D-STAR would be lower; furthermore, I believe other standards could be made to work by applying the same theory helping digital radio overall.
This winter unfortunately we hadn't had a chance to go to Russia due to some work commitments, but we are hoping to make it sometimes around Easter or, failing that, June or July. We normally fly to Moscow, I will let you know when that happen and it would be great to meet for a coffee or do something similar.