Conferencing With EchoLink

Conferencing refers to EchoLink's ability to be connected to more than one station at a time over the Internet.  Each such station becomes a participant in a conference.  It is conventional for participants in a conference to take turns transmitting, in roundtable fashion.  When connected in this fashion, each member of the conference can hear each other member's comments.  Text Chat messages are also sent to all single-user participants.

EchoLink supports conferencing as an option, in either the Single-User or Sysop modes.  Conferencing is disabled by default.  To enable conferencing, change the settings on the Connections tab of the Preferences window.  For more information, see Preferences.

Conferencing is not recommended if you are connected to the Internet over a slow connection, such as a dial-up modem.  Even with high-speed connections, be judicious about setting the connection limit, since each additional station in the conference requires about 17 kbps of upstream bandwidth.  For example, a typical cable-modem connection provides only 128kbps upstream, which would support a maximum of about 7 or 8 stations in a conference.  For more information, see Low-Bandwidth Indicator .

Note that when conferencing is enabled, you can assemble a conference by establishing connections to other stations yourself, or by waiting for them to connect to you.  An interesting feature in Sysop mode is the ability to assemble a conference by entering commands into EchoLink's built-in Web server from some remote location on the Internet.

Please use discretion when assembling a conference.  It is considered poor operating practice to "conference-in" a station to an existing conversation, unless you are certain the new station will welcome it.

Multi-Conferencing

Multi-conferencing is the connection of one conference to another.  Previous versions of EchoLink included safeguards to prevent multi-conferencing, since there was no reliable way to detect and prevent conference loops, in which more than one path is established between conferencees. 

Support for multi-conferencing is now available as an option in EchoLink version 1.7 and above.  Multi-conferencing is disabled by default.  To enable it, check the Allow multi-conferencing box on the Connections tab of the Preferences window.

When multi-conferencing is enabled, the software will allow you to host a conference consisting of any type of station, including conferences and conference servers.

When multi-conferencing is disabled, EchoLink enforces the following rules:

  1. If a station is already connected, EchoLink will not connect to a conference server.
  2. If a station is already connected, EchoLink will not connect to an EchoLink station to which a station is already connected (if both stations are using EchoLink version 1.1 or above).
  3. If already connected to a conference server, no additional stations may connect.
  4. If EchoLink is already connected to an EchoLink conference which is running EchoLink version 1.1 or above, no additional stations may connect.