THE RANGECAST NETWORK STRUCTURE
Rangecast is a unique new audio distribution system with Patents both granted and pending. The Rangecast system operates as a series of quasi-independent "hubs", each maintaining a separate database of transmissions and storing information about its users. The hubs can interlink and cross-authenticate in various ways, but the independence of each hub allows for clear security restrictions and operational versatility, and hubs are the basic building block of the Rangecast system architecture.
Each "feed site" (e.g. radio feeding content) is registered with a specific hub. When an audio file is recorded, it is saved into the cloud, and the URL of that audio file is sent to the hub that manages the feed site.
Rangecast does not stream audio. Instead, it streams notifications of new audio transmissions avaialble as stand-alone audio files on the internet. This "directory stream" is the heart of the Rangecast system. A hub normally receives content from multiple feed sites, and is aware of new content on multiple channels. The directory stream (live stream of newly available content) is analogous to the control channel of a trunked radio system - continuously providing updates to receivers about content that is currently available, so the receiver can choose to obtain and play that content, in accordance with user settings. A hub's directory stream carries a specific collection of channels, and that is the selection space available for a player monitoring that particular hub for new transmission reports.
The hub accepts connections from Rangecast players, and (within security settings) sends live notifications when new audio is available. Then, the player decides what audio should be fetched and played, based on user settings. The player can also access the hub's database of prior transmissions, to allow replay of content that was published before the user connected to the system.
It is also possible to cross-link hubs, so that a first hub "imports" transmission reports from a second hub. In this way, you can create your own customized collections of channels on a directory stream, even if the content comes from feed sites registered to a variety of diverse hubs.
Although Rangecast profiles can be loaded by any user, your access to audio will be subject to security restrictions. The profile tells the Rangecast player what you want to receive, but your ability to actually obtain that content is based on a negotiation between the player and the designated hub, which may restrict who can be notified about transmissions (authorization is based on your Rangecast username). So if you aren't authorized to receive particular content, you can't listen ... and if you submit audio to Rangecast as a professional customer, only Rangecast users you authorize will be able to monitor your content.
Some audio is open and available to any Rangecast user, while other audio is restricted, depending on these security settings.
Some Rangecast users have limited-access accounts that are locked to particular content, without the ability to freely navigate to other profiles. The accounts used to access these demonstration pages, for example, do not allow users to freely enter a Rangecast address - you can only access selected profiles.
These restricted accounts are beneficial if you administer an organization and want a standard presentation for all of your employees, or if you are offering specific content on a public webpage.
Most Rangecast accounts allow only a single Rangecast player to connect at a time through a Rangecast username. However, for restricted accounts, there is an option for allowing multiple logins to the same username. This feature is normally used for embedding a Rangecast player into a webpage.
SUMMARY OF HUB FUNCTIONS
In Rangecast, hubs are essentially independent Rangecast systems, although with the capacity for sharing content and cross-hub user authentication. A hub has three fundamental functions: 1) maintaining a database of known audio transmissions on particular channels; 2) authentication for user accounts in its namespace; 3) storing profiles created by these users.