Development

of a new

communication server

Development of a new communication server

In this blog post we will introduce our new communication server that replaces the old (DOS based) alphadesk server.

As with the development of our next generation pager, the development of our new paging server also started with discussions with end-users and dealers. This resulted in the following key requirements:

  • The server should support multiple platform clients (Windows/Mac/Linux/Tablet/Phone)
  • The server should be multi user (multiple users could concurrently control the system)
  • The server should be multi site (multiple locations could be controlled by one server)
  • The server should support redundancy
  • The server should be NEN2575 compatible
  • The server should be compatible with the old DP6000 system
  • The server should support 3rd party interaction
  • The server should have a flexible autonomous alarm handling
  • The server should support secure remote maintenance
  • The server should be future proof and support other devices than pagers
  • The server should be connected to standard IP networks

The server should be future proof and support also other devices than pagers

The basis of our new communication server is a Linux based machine with a MySQL server, a web server and a custom service (zeus-server) that connects to a custom DP6000-IP converter. All communication goes through the MySQL database. The web interface can insert a call into the database and the zeus-server picks up the call and transmits the call over one or more DP6000-IP converters onto the paging bus. Similarly calls from a pager are converted by the DP6000-IP converter and received by the custom server which writes an entry into the database. All user interaction is handled by the web server and put into the database, while all autonomous functions (such as alarm handling) is handled by the zeus-server software. This architecture is very flexible and 3rd party integration is possible via standard MySQL communication. Using a reverse SSH tunnel a secure pathway for remote support is created.

The overview can be downloaded as pdf here:  Zeus_communication_server_overview

An improved user interface has all user, installation and supervision functionality in one unified framework. This makes it easier to prepare installations or modify installations in the field. Pager data only resides at one place instead of multiple setup tools. User access rights can be setup and users can be assigned to buildings to show only a selection of the pagers connected to the system. The new user interface includes most of the functionality of the Atus Commander Windows client. The new user interface also scales well with mobile platforms.

Current status
We are currently setting up three pilots together with end-users and dealers. When these pilots have been successfully finished, the roll-out of the new communication server will be started.