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[aprssig] Happy New Year from the Tier 2 Network!

Phillip B. Pacier ad6nh at arrl.net
Tue Jan 2 17:47:20 UTC 2007

A year to remember!

The APRS-IS, and the APRS community in general continue to grow at a
substantial rate. As we enter a new year, we at Tier 2 would like to
clarify a few misconceptions about the APRS-IS and to illustrate some
interesting facts and truths.

We chose to develop a level 2 APRS-IS network for 2 reasons. 1) To take
the stress off the legacy system developed by Steve Dimse, K4HG, who
promised everyone that the original APRS-IS was adequate to handle the
future for APRS users around the world. 2) The necessary redundancy
required for better network infrastructure.

We created the infrastructure to accomplish the connectivity for an additional
thousand or so hams around the world. Not to mention a few thousand non-ham
WX stations for the same reasons. We were told that the current APRS-IS could
handle the same requirements by simply adding more level 1 core servers over
and over. The original plan didn't have the foresight to accommodate 21,000
APRS users or the overall growth of Bob Bruninga's master-mind.

Our Tier 2 system isn't the defacto standard. It is simply a means to provide
additional APRS-IS usage where the Main Core servers failed to provide the
future needs of the network. To conclude that Tier 2 is better because it can
handle 5 times the clients of level 1 is wrong. It more of a case that people
use it because it works for them.

Could everyone use the Main Core servers instead of Tier 2? The simple answer is
no. The more people that try, the more likely additional stress would occur at
the core level. To think otherwise would be far from the truth as level 1 has
fell short with the thinking 'I can handle it all'.

As Steve has said, "The spirit of the hobby is providing service to others."
Tier 2 does that in a superb manner, in the spirit of ham radio and public
exposure by creating specific entry points for non-ham Citizen Weather stations
around the world.

As the volume of APRS users increases, it is more likely that Tier 2 will
meet the needs of the APRS-IS well into the future. The volunteers that provide
individual resources and a positive attitude towards end-users is astounding.
They have no moral obligation to provide this service and do so without the
God-like attitudes we have seen in the past.

End-users should not use level 1 main core servers. That in no way is a personal
attack against anyone. Tier 2 currently depends on the level 1 main core servers.
That is how the APRS-IS needs to work. A single Tier 2 server provides hundreds
of end-users with a compact feed that provide the redundancy dependent on 3
main core hubs that can handle less than 600 connects. There are over 21,000 
APRS users seen on the Internet. An estimated 6000 users rely directly on the
APRS Internet service for their IGates, Wx stations, and other operations. Where
they connect is a key issue for everything to work smoothly.

If ego, or God-like attitudes was our single motivation... The APRS-IS would
have failed years ago with all the hype and promises we kept hearing. True,
Tier 2 wasn't part of the original plan. But, the reality was the fact that
some things simply didn't happen as we were promised. We feel it strange that
the nay-sayers and bashers of Tier 2 haven't stepped to the plate with a 
better plan or solution as the many volunteers who have been involved with
the Tier 2 project. To our credit

My many thanks to everyone associated with Tier 2. That includes the individual
sysops, the coordination team, and the many end-users. Not to mention the overwhelming
support offered by Pete Lovell, AE5PL who made it so easy for us to realize our
goals with javAPRSSrvr.

Happy New Year!

Phil Pacier, AD6NH
Dick Stanich, KB7ZVA
& the rest of the Tier 2 Network

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