Enterprise VersionAR-Cluster Sysop Manual


The Enterprise version supports four key features that are used when an AR-Cluster node is operating as a hub feeding other nodes.The upgrade from Standard to Enterprise only requires the swapping of the license file to enable the additional features.The features are:


1.    Outbound filters are now configurable and can be applied to non-AR-Cluster nodes.

2.    Support for passive connections allowing secondary redundant linkage.

3.    Up to 3 AGW TCPIP connections are allowed

4.    Node filters can be applied to a network.


Outbound Filter Sharing

The Enterprise version allows the sharing of AR-Cluster filters with traditional legacy nodes.This can be used where there is a difference in spot coverage between the AR-Cluster hub and the regional area nodes that it connects into.Best I give you some examples.


The K7AR node is the AR-Cluster node that connects into the OR/WA state area and that area only wants spots originating from AZ,CA,ID,MT,NV,OR,UT,WA,AB,BC,WY.K7AR runs the Standard version and connects into the AR-Cluster backbone and requests only spots from AZ,CA,ID,MT,NV,OR,UT,WA,AB,BC,WY.The coverage of his node matches the coverage of other nodes in his area.The Standard version of AR-Cluster works fine.


The N7OD node is the AR-Cluster node that connects into the Southern California area and that area only wants spots originating from CA.K7AR runs wide open on spot coverage and handles spots from all across the US and the world.Since the Southern California group only wants CA spots, outbound spot filters are needed to limit the spots he feeds into the Southern California group to just CA spots.N7OD uses the Enterprise version so he can limit the spots feed back into the Southern California Group to those originating from CA.When dealing with feeding other non-AR-Cluster nodes, the Enterprise version can be used to perform custom filtering on each connecting node.


AR-Cluster Remote

AR-Cluster Remote allows access to an AR-Cluster node from remote areas using the Internet for connection.This capability helps bring in small pockets of DXers and contesters who have previously been isolated from the DX-Cluster network.The remote location sets up a Radio/TNC and a computer that runs a small application called AGW and the host AR-Cluster node or nodes connects into the remote location using the Internet.The AGW Setup section details the setup of both AGW and AR-Cluster to support a remote connection.


For example, if we wanted to setup a AR-Cluster remote at the club station at the University in Waco, Texas.The club would setup up a TNC/Radio and computer with Internet connect.The AGW application would be installed on the computer following the AGW setup documentation and the host AR-Cluster node would be configured to connect up to the remote at Waco. Users in Waco do a standard TNC connect to the callsign on the node and the data is relayed back and forth using the Internet.


Also note multiple nodes can access the same AGW instance.For example, two or mode ARC nodes could connect to the node in Waco allowing a backup in case one node failed.The connections would be different for each node.


Another use of the remote AGW TCPIP was when the W0ECM node in Tulsa lost a hard drive.We got quickly back up running a remote AGW TCPIP connection and the AB5K node connected to his AGW instance from Austin, TX.His users did a CONNECT AB5K and their connection was handled by the AB5K node here in Austin.


The Standard version of AR-Cluster support 1 connection to AGW using TCPIP and the Enterprise version supports 5 connections.



Q.    Do the AGW Remote Access Ports require STATIC IP ADDRESSES at both ends of the Link? 

A.  The arc node may need a static IP for other reasons but not for a remote AGW TCPIP connect.  Since ARC initiates the connect and it only needs the IP of the machine the remote AGW instance is running on.


Q. Can Hostnames be used where Dynamic IP Addresses are assigned?

A.  Yes


Passive Connections

Passive connections allow for the intentional looping of the network and exchange of all data except for node and user connections.This feature is available only on the Enterprise edition and works as follows.


The passive connection functionality adds a lot of redundancy to the network giving us more options as to network layout and redundancy.†† In general, nodes in each layer in the network will establish passive connections to other nodes operating at their level and a full protocol connection to the higher next level.


Enterprise nodes have an option in the Cfg>Io to activate the passive TCP/IP connections.After activation, a set of small gray buttons labeled 1 thru 9 will be displayed across the TCP/IP frame on the connects tab.Each button supports an outbound passive TCP/IP connection.Double clicking on a button will launch a dialog allowing the configuration for the outbound passive connection allowing the setup of the connection call and TCPIP address and upstream filters for the connection.If you hesitate the mouse over one of the passive connect LEDís the fly-by tool tips will indicate the Call and IP address for the connection.


The connects-tab contains a checkbox enabling the auto-connect for passive connections.Once a connection is made, the outbound passive connect button turns green indicating a active connection.


Inbound passive connections are handled automatically.The max number is currently 50 but thatís a constant in the code, which can be increased if needed.


Passive connections are conducted on a separate TCPIP port (3606) from the normal TCPIP connections.†† During initialization, nodes on each end of the passive connection exchange the traditional protocol of:PC18, PC20 and PC22.In addition, they exchange upstream filters with the AR18 protocol for DX, Announcements and Weather.The ping command will also work with passive connections.


The internals of DX-Cluster nodes track of each object by its unique callsign so we canít have duplicate objects with the same callsign ďkeyĒ.†† To get around this we added code to mangle the callsign of outbound and inbound passive connections.†† The passive connection mangle character is a">" for inbound connections and a "<" for outbound connections.†† At the end of the mangled call we also add the index of the Winsock control used for the connection.This allows multiple connections using the same call.That is AB5K could set up all nine passive connections to W9ZRX.††


A special icon is used to indicate passive connections in the treeview.In the connections-treeview the mangled callsign might look like:

AB5K-4<1 = Outbound passive connection winsock 1 is connected to AB5K-4

AB5K-4>1 = AB5K-4 is doing a inbound connect to passive connection winsock 1

The connection treeview shows inbound and outbound passive connections with their mangled callsign.Passive connections show up in the connection treeview but do not get repeated across the network.†† Passive connections also do not show up in the SH/C or SH/Node commands.A new SH/Passive command displays passive connections for the node as:



†† |____AB5K-4>1

†† |____AB5K-4>2

†† |____AB5K-4>3

†† |____AB5K-4>4

†† |____AB5K-4>5

†† |____AB5K-4>6

†† |____AB5K-4>7

†† |____AB5K-4>8

†† |____AB5K-4>9

†† |____AB5K-4<1

†† |____AB5K-4<2

†† |____AB5K-4<3

†† |____AB5K-4<4††††††††††††††††††††††

†† |____AB5K-4<5

†† |____AB5K-4<6

†† |____AB5K-4<7

†† |____AB5K-4<8

†† |____AB5K-4<9


The AR-Cluster dupe logic is memory based and is very efficient on dumping out duplicate spots caused by redundant passive connections with minimal CPU overhead.


Passive connection QuickStart for Enterprise nodes:

1)    In the Cfg>IoDevices check the Passive TCPIP box and restart the application.

2)    On the connect tab, in the TCPIP frame, click on one of the nine Passive TCPIP LEDís.

3)    Configure the Call and IP address for the passive connection and click the Active checkbox and exit the dialog.You can use any of the AR-Cluster enterprise level nodes including the node that you normally connect to.

4)    On the Connect tab check the Auto-Connect Passive check box.

5)    Within the next two minutes, the passive auto-connect logic should fire and do a passive connection to the node.If you want to hurry up the passive connection, do a Sysop>Cycle>Auto-ConnectPassive.

6)    Establish other passive connections as needed.


A new SHow/PAssive command can be used to display passive connections.The SH/C and SH/Nodes commands do not displaypassive node connections.Also passive connects do not show up in node totals.


Node Filters

The Enterprise version adds a new configuration menu, Cfg>EnterpriseFilters which allows your selected node filters to be applied to a network.