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Current issue : #6 | Release date : 1986-06-10 | Editor : Taran King
IndexTaran King
Pro-Phile on GroupsKnight Lightning
The Technical RevolutionDr. Crash
Fun with LightersThe Leftist
Nasty Unix TricksShooting Shark
Smoke BombsAlpine Kracker
Cellular TelephonesHigh Evolutionary
Wide Area NetworksJester Sluggo
Phrack World News Part 1Knight Lightning
Phrack World News Part 2Knight Lightning
Phrack World News Part 3Knight Lightning
Phrack World News Part 4Knight Lightning
Phrack World News Part 5Knight Lightning
Title : Wide Area Networks
Author : Jester Sluggo
                                ==Phrack Inc.==

                     Volume One, Issue Six, Phile 8 of 13


                            Jester Sluggo presents
                                 an insight on
                              Wide-Area Networks
                                    Part 2


Part 1 contains information on ARPANET and CSNET.
Part 2 contains information on BITNET, MFENET, UUCP and USENET.
It is best if you read both files to better understand each other.
     These files will cover general information on wide-area networks, (I.E.
ARPANET, CSNET, BITNET, MFENET, UUCP and USENET), but may contain information
in relationship with other networks not emphasized in these files.  These files
are NOT a hacker's tutorial/guide on these systems.

BITNET.  In 1981, City University of New York (CUNY) surveyed universities on
the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada, inquiring whether there was interest in
creating and easy-to-use, economical network for interuniversity communication
between scholars.  The response was positive.  Many shared the CUNY belief in
the importance of computer-assisted communication between scholars.  The first
link of the new network, called BITNET, was established between CUNY and Yale
University in May 1981.
     The network technology chosen for BITNET was determined by the
availability of the RSCS software on the IBM computers at the initial sites.
[The name BITNET stands for Because It's Time NETwork.]  The RSCS software is
simple but effective, and most IBM VM-CMS computer systems have it installed
for local communications, supporting file transfer and remote job entry
services.  The standard BITNET links are leased telephone lines running at 9600
bps.  Although all the initial nodes were IBM machines in university computer
centers, the network is in no way restricted to such systems.  Any computer
with an RSCS emulator can be connected to BITNET.  Emulators are available for
DEC VAX-VMS systems, VAX-UNIX systems, and for Control Data Corp. Cyber systems
and others.  Today, more than one-third of the computers on BITNET are non-IBM
     BITNET is a store-and-forward network with files and messages sent from
computer to computer across the network.  It provides electronic mail, remote
job entry, and file transfer services, and supports and interactive message
facility and a limited remote logon facility.  Most BITNET sites use the same
electronic mail procedures and standards as the ARPANET, and as a result of the
installation of electronic mail gateway systems at the University of California
at Berkley and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, most BITNET users can
communicate electronically with users on CSNET and the ARPANET.
     BITNET has expanded extremely rapidly -- a clear indication that is
providing service that people need and want.  The simplicity of the connection
to the network -- acquiring a 9600-bps leased line to the nearest neighboring
computer node and in installing an additional line interface and modem --
provides the service at the right price.  By the end of 1985 the number of
computers connected was expected to exceed 600, at more than 175 institutions
of higher education throughout the U.S.  BITNET is open without restriction to
any college or university.  It is not limited to specific academic disciplines,
and may be used for any academic purpose.  However, use for commercial purposes
is prohibited.  In special cases, connection of commercial organizations may be
sponsored by universities.  A particular case is the connection of Boeing
Computer Services to BITNET, as part of the NSFnet initiative, to provide
remote job entry services to their Cray X-MP/24 to NSF supercomputer grantees
who have access to BITNET.
     Until recently BITNET had no central management structure, and was
coordinated by an executive board consisting of members from the major
institutions participating.  This worked because most of the computers
connected were managed and operated by professional service organizations in
university computer centers.  However, the growth in the network made it
possible to continue in this ad hoc fashion, and a central support organization
was established with support from an IBM grant.  The central support
organization, called the BITNET network support center (BITNSC), has two parts:
A user services organization, the network information center (BITNSC), which
provides user support, a name server and a variety of databases, and the
development and operations center (BITDOC) to develop and operate the network.
A major question facing the members of BITNET is how the funding of this
central organization will be continued when the IBM grant expires in 1987.
     BITNET, with support from the NSFnet Program, is now examining ways to
provide ARPANET-like services to existing BITNET sites.  The project, which is
similar to the CSNET CYPRESS project, will explore a strategy to provide an
optional path to the use of the TCP-IP procedures on existing 9.6-kbps leased
lines.  The possibility of upgrading these lines to multiple alternate links,
providing higher reliability and availability, or to higher speed 56-kbps links
is also being studied.  The project will offer a higher level of service to
BITNET sites choosing this path and also enable a low-cost connection to

MFENET.  The DOE's magnetic fusion energy research network was established in
the mid-1970's to support access to the MFE Cray 1 supercomputer at the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  The network uses 56-kbs satellite
links, and is designed to provide terminal access to the Cray time-sharing
system (CTSS), also developed at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.  The
network currently supports access to Cray 1, Cray X-MP/2, Cray 2, and Cyber 205
supercomputers.  The network uses special-purpose networking software developed
at Livermore, and, in addition to terminal access, provides file transfer,
remote output queuing, and electronic mail, and includes some specialized
application procedures supporting interactive graphics terminals and local
personal computer (PC)-based editing.  Access to the network is in general
restricted to DOE-funded researchers.  Recently the network has been expanded
to include the DOE-funded supercomputer at Florida State University. MFENET is
funded by DOE and managed by Livermore.
     MFENET has been successful in supporting DOE supercomputer users. However,
the specialized nature of the communications protocols is now creating
difficulties for researchers who need advanced graphics workstations that use
the UNIX BSD 4.2 operating system and the TCP-IP protocols on LAN's. For these
and other reasons, DOE is examining how best to migrate MFENET to the TCP-IP,
and later to the OSI, protocols.
     The combination of the CTSS operating system and the MFENET protocols
creates an effective interactive computing environment for researchers using
Cray supercomputers.  For this reason, two of the new NSF national
supercomputer centers -- San Diego (SDSC) and Illinois -- have chosen the CTSS
operating system.  In SDSC's case, the MFENET protocols have also been chosen
to support the SDSC Consortium network.  In Illinois case, a project to
implement the TCP-IP protocols for the CTSS operating system has been funded by
the NSFnet program, and these developments will be shared with SDSC (and with
DOE) to provide a migration path for the SDSC Consortium network.

                                UUCP and USENET
                                ~~~~     ~~~~~~
UUCP and USENET.  The UUCP network was started in the 1970's to provide
electronic mail and file transfer between UNIX systems.  The network is a
host-based store-and-forward network using dialup telephone circuits and
operates by having each member site dialup the next UUCP host computer and send
and receive files and electronic mail messages.  The network uses addresses
based on the physical path established by this sequence of dialups connections.
UUCP is open to any UNIX system which chooses to participate.  There are
"informal" electronic mail gateways between UUCP and ARPANET, BITNET, or CSNET,
so that users of any of these networks can exchange electronic mail.
     USENET is a UNIX news facility based on the UUCP network that provides a
news bulletin board service.  Neither UUCP nor USENET has a central management;
volunteers maintain and distribute the routing tables for the network.  Each
member site pays its own costs and agrees to carry traffic. Despite this
reliance on mutual cooperation and anarchic management style, the network
operates and provides a useful, if somewhat unreliable, and low-cost service to
its members.  Over the years the network has grown into a world-wide network
with thousands of computers participating.

Other Wide-Area Networks.  Of necessity this file of wide-area networks has
been incomplete: Other networks of interest include the Space Plasma Analysis
Network (SPAN) -- a network of DEC VAX computers using 9.6-kbps links and the
DECNET protocols for National Aeronautics and Space Administration's
researchers; the planned Numerical and Atmospheric Sciences (NAS) network
centered at Ames Research Center -- a network that is expected to use existing
and planned NASA communications links and the TCP-IP protocols; and the planned
high-energy physics network -- a network based largely on VAX computers and
using the standard X.25 network level protocols plus the so called "coloured
books" protocols developed in the United Kingdom.  Also, many high-energy
physicists, at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, at the Lawrence Berkley
Laboratory, and at Fermi Laboratory, among others, have used DECNET to connect
their DEC VAX computers together.

/ luggo !!

Please give full credit for references to the following:

Dennis M. Jennings, Lawrence H. Landweber, Ira H. Fuchs, David J. Faber, and W.
Richards Adrion.

Any questions, comments or Sluggestions can be emailed to me at Metal Shop, or
sent via snailmail to the following address until 12-31-1986:

                                   J. Sluggo
                                  P.O. Box 93
                          East Grand Forks, MN  56721
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