Allstar Link is an organization devoted to the proliferation of the Allstar technology and to organize its public use. Certainly, anyone can have a "private" system using this technology, and they would have no need for AllStar Link affiliation, but there needs to be a single, central point of organization for public use of this technology, and that's what AllStar Link provides.
To qualify for AllStar Link affiliation, your repeater system must be either open (meaning that any licensed Amateur Radio station is welcome to fully use all of its functionality at any time), or at least semi-open (meaning that for permanent use, the owner of the system may require membership for use of all or part of its functionality, but non-members, particularly those visiting the area may use it on a temporary, short-term basis only). Some functions may be limited or un-available, but functions that allow for linking over the AllStar Link must be available to non-members at any time, and the system must be able to accept linking from any AllStar Link node. The DTMF control codes used for controlling linking and other AllStar Link-wide functions will be consistent among all nodes. Systems are welcome and encouraged to have other parts (such as other private nodes or remote bases, etc) of their radio systems not affiliated with AllStar Link. Our node numbering scheme (use the "List All Nodes" button above) was designed specifically with this in mind.
Our technology has the unique characteristic that repeaters and remote base nodes are completely separate from each other, unlike any other repeater/remote-base controllers. That means that just because a remote-base is at the same site or even on the same computer system as a repeater, they are not tied together in any way. They are implemented as completely separate nodes, usable separately.
Unlike other Radio-centric VOIP technologies, such as Echolink or IRLP, etc, Allstar and the app_rpt/Asterisk technology have been specifically designed to be part of, and to link together parts of the very infrastructure of the radio systems that it implements, as opposed to be an end-to-end protocol like others.
All systems (nodes) are either repeater controllers or remote-base controllers. They connect directly with the radio hardware (thus replacing/outdating) current controllers on a system that is already up and operating. Just simply as a repeater controller, the amount of functionality and flexibility is very impressive, and when you also consider its remote base, linking (full-duplex) and VOIP (for autopatch, remote control, etc) capabilities, its amazing.
Allstar Link is an attempt to take this technology and make it available and applicable to as many Amateur Radio operators as possible, via their local repeater systems. For the most part we try to keep administration and policy making up to local systems. We only require strict technical standards (we dont want a bad sounding or un-usable system), and minimum operational requirements, most of which have to do with making the systems available to all, and making sure that everyone gets along, and treats everyone with proper respect and dignity.
Once again, this technology is not intended to be implemented by the end-user or those light at heart. It takes serious committment and resources (that which is required to put a radio system on the air to begin with, and to maintain it) by either a group, club, or maybe even a single, dedicated, talented (not to mention monied) individual. The assumption made with Allstar Link is that the purpose of this work and level of dedication is to share the goodness and great benefits with others, and to promote continuation of doing so.