What is important about this is in the fact that both the PBX and RF Gateway can be used through a high speed multiple media network without having a connection to the Internet. Also when the “last mile” conditions exist RF Gateways can be used to provide a means to deliver information to those that are more familiar with using a telephone than a radio (as standard telephones can connect with a PBX, with normal dial / ring tone available).
Rapid deployment kits can be built that provide all the necessary equipment for both the PBX and RF Gateway when made possible a PBX / RF Gateway can be put into place that allows remote access even when away from a building. For those with “smart phones” that have WiFi capabilities apps are available that allow one to use the PBX resources to make contact with RF Gateways, send voice mail as well as video conferencing.
For those that have access to the Internet via Satellite, resources are available that allow you to connect to distant PBX / RF Gateways which can provide another method for providing communication support. One can also create a simplified RF Gateway by using auto-answer capabilities of a software phones (softphones) and IP phones. Through the use of RF Gateways, extended coverage is available by adding additional “last mile” radios.
As for EchoLink there’s some problems that make it challenging to use in emergency operations. Since EchoLink is half-duplex there’s only one operator that can talk at one time. This can create hazard when a station with higher priority traffic is blocked by existing radio traffic. This problem does not exist with Asterisk as the control operator can monitor all traffic in full-duplex. Another problem with EchoLink is in the fact that one needs to make contact with the primary database for authentication. With Asterisk one can create a “node list” that is available without making contact with a primary database. One can use Asterisk to create amateur and commercial radio networks, while EchoLink only allows amateur radio networks.