Allstar is similar to echolink and IRLP but (near as we can tell) it differs because we can link nodes together without ever having to see the internet.
The microwave links we often refer to are wireless LAN (WiFi) essentially. They’re similar to your home wireless network. Think of how you share files between computers at home or print to a wireless printer. You can do those things even if the internet was down or your modem was unplugged right? That’s what we’re doing with allstar. A couple of the servers in the network do have an internet connection but that’s just to allow us to connect to the outside world. Every one of the repeaters from Methodist mountain to Boone are connected via a private WLAN or WiFi network.
Why do we like doing it this way? This is one of the best parts acually! Each “node” resides on our private network and is very flexible. Normally every node is connected to a HUB. There are a few hubs but to be simple we have an east hub and a west hub. The machines in Fremont county connect to the West HUB and the machines in Pueblo county connect to the East HUB.
Lets say I need to connect the Boone node to 146.970 for some reason. Lets also assume that we don’t need that traffic on all of the other repeaters. I can dis-connect Boone from the hub and connect it to the remote base in Pueblo then change channels on the remote base to 146.970, done. Lets say an incident grows and we need comm with Denver and we also need pueblo west and pueblo to be connected together but to nothing else. We can do that! We connect the Cripple Creek Remote base to say 146.940 and link it back to the West HUB then dis-connect Pueblo and Pueblo West from the East HUB and just connect them to each other. We’re finished, Pueblo and Pueblo West are linked, Boone is linked to 146.970 on Pikes Peak and Fremont Peak, Canon City, Cotopaxi and Methodist Mountain are connected to 146.940 in Denver. Any combination is possible!
Think of an IRLP or echolink node that doesn’t need the internet and is flexible enough to connect to any other node on a private network. That and the node computer runs the repeaters so with scripts we can do anything such as put the whole system into “net” mode. The hang time is shortened, the courtesy tones are different and incoming connections from the outside world are disabled. We take it for granted but that’s pretty amazing!