Frequently-Asked Questions
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Connecting to Servers

When I start EchoLink, I see the message "Trying ...", but never see the station list.  What's the problem?

There are two possible causes:

  1. Your firewall is not allowing outbound traffic over TCP port 5200 to the Internet.  For more information, and possible solutions, see the section Firewall Solutions.
  2. The information you provided in the My Station tab of the Settings window may not be valid.  If you had previously used EchoLink, please be sure of the following:
Your password must be at least 3 characters long.  If you registered with iLINK quite a while ago, and were not required to provide a password at that time, you must still enter a password to use EchoLink.
Your station location (description) must not be longer than 23 characters.

I'm hearing (or getting reports of) poor-quality audio.  Could this be a problem with the server?

No.  Contrary to popular belief, the server only provides a list of available stations -- it is not involved in connecting to another station, or in exchanging audio or text during a QSO.  All of your communication with another station is transmitted directly to that station over the Internet, without going through a server.

However, if you notice audio break-up while the station list is refreshing, it may be because the new information coming down from the server is filling up the same Internet "pipe" you use for your QSO.  To avoid this, un-check the option "Even while connected" on the Stations tab of the Preferences window.

For more information about audio issues, see the Audio FAQ.

Can you explain how the EchoLink servers are set up?

The EchoLink servers, which have been custom-designed for use with the EchoLink software, are installed at various locations around the world.  Typically, 3 or 4 servers are online at a given time.  The total load is balanced among them so that no single server becomes overloaded.  The servers replicate (exchange data) with each other every 20 seconds so that all servers in the network show essentially the same information to all users.  The servers and the EchoLink software are also designed so that users are automatically shifted to another server in case one (or more) fails.  This architecture has proven to be highly reliable, with the system experiencing approximately 99.999% uptime since September 1, 2002, even as load has increased from about 300 users online at a time to more than 3,000.  The servers now process more than 1,500,000 transactions per day.

Where are the servers located, and how are they managed?

The servers are now all operated on Linux virtual instances in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The cloud servers are in various locations in the United States and Europe. It is estimated that this arrangement of servers can support about 5 times the current worldwide load.

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