A short and incomplete history

The first gateway system and network was Icom V1 (Version 1)

  • Only supports routed networking, e.g. directed traffic to individual station or repeater.
  • Requires registration of gateways and users
  • Associates callsign/terminal ID with IP address for ID-1 digital data
  • Still the network in Japan
  • Required system administrators to complete course to join network
  • Infrequent database updates to individual gateways with routing information for stations and gateways
  • Closed source, Icom provided, only talks to Icom Controller

This was followed by Icom G2 (Generation 2) Gateway

  • Still supports routed networking
  • Added multicast groups (feature mostly unused, non-linking routing to multiple, 10?, repeaters)
  • System administrators no longer required to take course
  • Continues gateway and user registration model
  • Continues 10.x.x.x IP address assignment for each callsign/terminal ID combination
  • DD (and DV) packets routed by callsign/terminal ID, uses 10.x.x.x address to insure unique addresses so a station can show up for IP traffic at any gateway and be NATed to non-DSTAR addresses on the Internet.
  • Database updates from central server to individual gateways updated more frequently (Now around 5 minutes?)
  • Uses “Trust Server” which is for most people is the USRoot Trust administered by K5TIT
  • USRoot only accepts registrations from G2 systems (for a while a gateway written G4ULF was allowed to register and gateways that registered during that period continue to be able to operate, but new registrations have been on hold for 2-3 years now).  This essentially limits registrations to Icom systems.
  • Closed source, must be purchased from Icom, only talks to Icom Controller.  (Some controller emulators exist which has allowed a few non-Icom GMSK modem based repeaters to attach to G2 gateway.)
  • Single instance of server

3rd Party Add-ons to Icom G2 (that many people think are part of the gateway, but are instead add-ons)

  • DPLUS – by AA4RC, the most successful application for D-STAR users.  Provides linking, reflectors, and access for DVDongles, DVAPs, DVAR HotSpots, and the like (but only for linking).  This application has been primarily responsible for most of the growth of D-STAR Digital Voice.  (Also provides Dynamic DNS and security certificates upon request.) Provides gateway “dashboard” on web.  Closed source.
  • DPRS – by AE5PL, provides position reporting for D-STAR stations and forwards it to APRS-IS
  • DSM – by NJ6N, G7LWT, et al.  provides central management of the USRoot Trust network.  Reports any variance from configuration guidelines, allows trust server admins to monitor, update, and modify installed components on individual gateways.  Reporting drives dstarusers.org website. Aims for centralized control.  Mix of open and closed software.
  • Scripts that copy registered gateways and users between the Japan V1 trust and USRoot Trust  (not sure how often)
  • 3rd party scripts like Monlink and others.
  • ircDDB add-on to permit G2 systems to route traffic to and from ircDDB network gateways and USRoot registered users.

ircDDB real time callsign and address update service

  • Uses the irc protocol to send updates of gateways with their associated IP addresses, associated repeaters, and individual stations in real time.  See visualization at http://ircddb.net/live.htm — more detail with an irc client.
  • To participate a gateway must register at http://regsrv.ircddb.net/index.htm  (Uses same criteria, except G2 Gateway requirement, as the USRoot for interoperability, e.g. in the US the callsign must belong to a club)
  • Unlike USRoot users do not register with ircDDB, a station’s ITU callsign is their access to the network.  Icom G2 requires user registration, so stations need to register with USRoot for interoperability.
  • Open source
  • Runs on 2 synchronized server-clusters (geographically separated servers in each cluster, 1 cluster in Europe, 1 in North America) for high reliability and scalability.
  • The ircDDB add-on for G2 updates the local PostgreSQL database on Icom G2 and G4ULF systems, so they can interoperate with gateways on the ircDDB network.
  • There are a small handful of gateway software packages that can use ircDDB natively, the most popular being ircDDBGateway by G4KLX.  It supports native D-STAR callsign addressing (routing), including STARnet Groups. It supports DPLUS linking (as a client), as well as the independent DExtra (open source) linking protocol, and the newer, advanced linking protocol DCS (plan for open source).  It is fully open source, running on both Linux and Windows, including ARM processors such as the Raspberry Pi – for repeaters it supports the Icom RP2C controller, Node Adapters, DVRPTR V1/V2 dsp GMSK Modems, sound card GMSK modem, and DVAP. (It will be available on the UDR56K-4[disclosure: I am affiliated with NW Digital Radio]).
  • It is the way for non-Icom repeaters (and simplex access points), to interoperate with the world wide D-STAR network.

The D-STAR  network is all gateways and repeaters/simplex access points – USRoot/ircDDB/Japan Trust are all ways to enter or exit the network.