NCS and Master Control Servers-Information (Backup Only)
Information for NCS & Master Control Servers
This page should only be used during times when the main server is non-functional.
THIS IS A SECONDARY BACKUP PROCEDURE.
If one reviews the technical requirements for this program, it is found that areas of available bandwidth, control node structure, and operating parameters become paramount to its success. In the case of bandwidth, it should be understood that each station participating in a conference connection utilizes 17 Kbps of upstream bandwidth which becomes the responsibility of the host node to which it is connected. It should further be understood that under normal "Broadband" cable connections, that you may well be seeing a high level of downstream capability, but by design the cable companies only give you a maximum of 512 Kbps of upstream availability.
Under normal operating conditions one should expect an average upstream rate of somewhere between 350 to 450 Kbps. This is due in part to the distance from the home server to your location, the speed of your computer, the influence of a router and other computers sharing this service and whether any other programs may be running in the background. Should you care to determine your downstream and upstream capabilities this can be done by visiting http://www.speedtest.net
That mentioned above means that a node acting as a control server for the net only has the capability of handling 20 to 25 stations at any given point in time. The net procedure establishes that 20 should be the maximum conference user level for each control server and is further explained below. By estimating 100 total users per session, it then requires that we have five control servers, running in parallel, who are connected together forming a conference capability of 100 stations. This again will be covered further in this discussion.
Control Node Structure & Operating Parameters:
As covered under the procedural page of this web site, seven control servers and one backup have been assigned in the following order of user connectivity: KY6V-L, KW4LCB-L, KW4LCB-R, KA0GYF-L, N4FTD-L, W4FHC-L, and WD5KAE-L. This listing is subject to change, and when it becomes necessary all concerned will be notified.
Each control server should attempt to have their system on line and functional 30 minutes prior to net time. This allows time for the assigned NCS to make the connections necessary, and setup his or her screen display for the net proceedings.
Each participating control server must take the following action to their respective node prior to this sign on period: Under Tools > Setup > My station, change your location to "Southcars VOip (Net)". Under Tools > Preferences > Connections, "allow conferences" should be checked, and "limit to" should read 20. In addition on this window all three categories directly under "limit to" should be checked, and "show name of connected conference" should not be checked. Under Tools > Sysop settings > Remt, "Enable Web remote control" should be checked, "TCP port" set to 8080, and the "User name & Password" set to that which will be sent to you via email. For those of you who normally use an 8080 control page, it is suggested that you change your normal user name and password to that being used for the net session, and then after the net change it back to your previous entries. Further it is necessary that you be in compliance to the setup parameters shown on the "Echolink Setup recommendations" page found on this site.
It should be understood that each NCS will be using your 8080 control page for the purpose of running the net. Therefore it is essential that this page be made available for either his or her use. Some interesting idiosyncrasies within the Echolink program should be mentioned. A user while connected into a conference environment with sizable participation will find that their connected to screen will only show a maximum of 16 stations listed. The 8080 screen, on the other hand, will show a maximum of 23. So the 8080 screen provides a total listing for the NCS, gives the NCS the ability to disconnect someone if necessary, and provides additional information that is above and beyond that found on the normal Echolink display screen.
Each participating control server need not worry about connecting. All that is necessary is that your system is up and running and available to the NCS. The active NCS will connect to your system in keeping with the game plan for the session.
NCS Information & Suggestions:
In keeping with that found above, it is suggested that each NCS make themselves available approximately 30 minutes prior to their scheduled session. This will allow you to connect to the supporting control servers, and setup your control screen in the manner most comfortable for you. Several options are presented for your consideration.
Each of the control server's 8080 control pages when active on your screen can be resized, width wise, producing only the columns representing the disconnect box, call, name, and the scroll bar. All five control pages can be displayed simultaneously, and will require to be scrolled to view the master listing of those connected. If you adopt this approach it is recommended that the display be setup from left to right in keeping with the procedure asked of the users, this being KY6V-L furthest to the left, KW4LCB-L next and so on.
A second approach would be to connect to the control server's 8080 page in the priority set forth for the users, and keep these connections resident in the tool bar found at the bottom of your desk top screen. You would then only need to bring forward the screen that you were currently working with, and have additional information displayed should you require it.
The net should be conducted in keeping with the style and manner used on our 7251 mother ship. That is, open with the preamble, standby for any emergencies, and standby for any stations having prearranged schedules etc. It should be noted here that "Short Timers" will not be recognized as such in all fairness to the other stations standing by. If this is allowed to happen, you will find that you will have more short timers than regular stations checking in.
Station recognition by the NCS should be in keeping with the priority set forth by the control server connectivity, and should be recognized from top to bottom of that listing. This is to say the those appearing on KY6V-L should be recognized first for the twenty stations displayed, and then you should move over to control server #2, in this case KW4LCB-L and recognize those twenty stations listed in order from top to bottom, and then continue to control server #3 and so forth until reaching the end.
There will be some specific instances that should be drawn to your attention. You should periodically announce what server you are currently working, and note to those in attendance that any stations who have checked in late and are currently on a server that has already been recognized, that it will be necessary for those stations to reconnect to a server that is yet to be called upon. An example of this happening would be a station checking in to KY6V-L when you are working a server further down line, this means that this station will not be recognized. This can happen when a station disconnects on KY6V-L leaving an open space within the twenty to be accepted. Consideration was made to close that node or disable it after you, the NCS, finished. This was promptly discarded in support of those stations that would like to remain connected and monitor the balance of the net.
I am sorry to admit that there are some around us who will attempt to beat the system. That is, attempt to be recognized before those who are in line. There are some subtle ways that this can be accomplished, but by awareness, and corrective measures on the part of the NCS these actions can be stopped. These will be discussed with you under private and direct communication. To discuss them here would be akin to the National News telling the terrorists where the weak spots are located in our Home Land Security.