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Allstar versus IRLP

We have recently converted our 443.300 MHz repeater from IRLP to Allstar Link.  We turned off IRLP node 3013.  We have started building a new Allstar Link node for our 146.700 MHz repeater as well.  I am looking at ways to see if we can salvage one of the IRLP nodes and have both connected to the repeater where we can choose which system to use.  There is a reason that we changed from IRLP to Allstar Link and it wasn’t because we didn’t want IRLP but rather our Internet Service Provider (ISP).

IRLP, like most linking systems use certain ports to communicate, whether it be audio or control signals.  Like systems, require the same ports.  If you are going to be able to run a node effectively on a local area network, you need to be able to change the node to a static IP address and then forward the necessary ports to that computer.  If you are going to have two IRLP nodes at the same location, you have to have two external (WAN) IP addresses.  This is because if packets arrive over the Internet and reach your router, you need to be able to forward it to the correct computer.  Unfortunately when you have two nodes, they both use the same port. The router cannot forward the same port to more than one computer at the same time.

For years, we have been paying for an extra IP address for this purpose.  Recently we received a letter from our ISP saying they would no longer supply a second IP address for residential accounts. If we needed a second IP address, we would have to subscribe to a business account.  A business account is more than double the price.

We were left with a decision to either shut one of the nodes down or try other options.  Allstar Link allows many nodes on the same computer, so it allows you to assign specific ports to each node. You can have each node using a separate port, eliminating the need for two external IP addresses.  We have one node working very well and a second node  under development.  I know we only needed to change one node but our trustee, W5QO likes it so much, he wanted to do both repeaters.

Many of the IRLP reflectors are also connected to Allstar Link. We have already verified that the WIN System (IRLP node 9100) is also on Allstar Link (node 2560).  The East Coast reflector (IRLP node 9050) is Allstar (node 27339).  The Alaska reflector (IRLP node 9070) is Allstar (node 27597).

Currently we don’t have a way to connect our old IRLP node in parallel with the Allstar Link node but if we can figure out how to do that, we’ll certainly do that.  Our 443.300 MHz repeater is now Allstar Link node 28941 and soon the 146.700 MHz repeater will be Allstar Link node 46810.

This will require a new user manual to be created so that people know how to use it.  I have started this project but not yet complete.  Once this is complete, then we’ll have to make some significant changes to our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.  We’ll let you know when the new node is on the air.

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