ARMWARE RFC Archive <- RFC Index (1501..1600)

RFC 1594

Obsoletes RFC 1325
Obsoleted by RFC 2664

Network Working Group                                          A. Marine
Request for Comments: 1594                                     NASA NAIC
FYI: 4                                                       J. Reynolds
Obsoletes: 1325                                                      ISI
Category: Informational                                        G. Malkin
                                                              March 1994

                      FYI on Questions and Answers
        Answers to Commonly asked "New Internet User" Questions

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
   does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
   this memo is unlimited.


   This FYI RFC is one of two FYI's called, "Questions and Answers"
   (Q/A), produced by the User Services Working Group of the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF).  The goal is to document the most
   commonly asked questions and answers in the Internet.

New Questions and Answers

   In addition to updating information contained in the previous version
   of this FYI RFC, the following new questions have been added:

   Questions about Internet Organizations and Contacts:

     What is the InterNIC?

   Questions About Internet Services:

     What is gopher?
     What is the World Wide Web?  What is Mosaic?
     How do I find out about other Internet resource discovery tools?

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 1]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction.................................................  2
   2. Acknowledgements.............................................  2
   3. Questions About the Internet.................................  3
   4. Questions About TCP/IP.......................................  5
   5. Questions About the Domain Name System.......................  5
   6. Questions About Internet Documentation.......................  6
   7. Questions about Internet Organizations and Contacts.......... 13
   8. Questions About Services..................................... 18
   9. Mailing Lists and Sending Mail............................... 24
   10. Miscellaneous "Internet lore" questions..................... 26
   11. Suggested Reading........................................... 28
   12. References.................................................. 29
   13. Condensed Glossary.......................................... 31
   14. Security Considerations..................................... 44
   15. Authors' Addresses.......................................... 44

1. Introduction

   New users joining the Internet community have the same questions as
   did everyone else who has ever joined.  Our quest is to provide the
   Internet community with up to date, basic Internet knowledge and

   Future updates of this memo will be produced as User Services members
   become aware of additional questions that should be included, and of
   deficiencies or inaccuracies that should be amended in this document.
   Although the RFC number of this document will change with each
   update, it will always have the designation of FYI 4.  An additional
   FYI Q/A, FYI 7, is published that deals with intermediate and
   advanced Q/A topics [11].

2. Acknowledgements

   The following people deserve thanks for their help and contributions
   to this FYI Q/A: Matti Aarnio (FUNET), Susan Calcari (InterNIC),
   Corinne Carroll (BBN), Vint Cerf (MCI), Peter Deutsch (Bunyip), Alan
   Emtage (Bunyip), John Klensin (UNU), Thomas Lenggenhager (Switch),
   Doug Mildram (Xylogics), Tracy LaQuey Parker (Cisco), Craig Partridge
   (BBN), Jon Postel (ISI), Matt Power (MIT), Karen Roubicek (BBN),
   Patricia Smith (Merit), Gene Spafford (Purdue), and Carol Ward
   (Sterling Software/NASA NAIC).

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 2]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

3. Questions About the Internet

   3.1  What is the Internet?

      The Internet is a collection of thousands of networks linked by a
      common set of technical protocols which make it possible for users
      of any one of the networks to communicate with or use the services
      located on any of the other networks.  These protocols are
      referred to as TCP/IP or the TCP/IP protocol suite.  The Internet
      started with the ARPANET, but now includes such networks as the
      National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET), the Australian
      Academic and Research Network (AARNet), the NASA Science Internet
      (NSI), the Swiss Academic and Research Network (SWITCH), and about
      10,000 other large and small, commercial and research, networks.
      There are other major wide area networks that are not based on the
      TCP/IP protocols and are thus often not considered part of the
      Internet.  However, it is possible to communicate between them and
      the Internet via electronic mail because of mail gateways that act
      as "translators" between the different network protocols involved.

      Note: You will often see "internet" with a small "i".  This could
      refer to any network built based on TCP/IP, or might refer to
      networks using other protocol families that are composites built
      of smaller networks.

      See FYI 20 (RFC 1462), "FYI on 'What is the Internet?'" for a
      lengthier description of the Internet [13].

   3.2  I just got on the Internet.  What can I do now?

      You now have access to all the resources you are authorized to use
      on your own Internet host, on any other Internet host on which you
      have an account, and on any other Internet host that offers
      publicly accessible information.  The Internet gives you the
      ability to move information between these hosts via file
      transfers.  Once you are logged into one host, you can use the
      Internet to open a connection to another, login, and use its
      services interactively (this is known as remote login or
      "TELNETing").  In addition, you can send electronic mail to users
      at any Internet site and to users on many non-Internet sites that
      are accessible via electronic mail.

      There are various other services you can use.  For example, some
      hosts provide access to specialized databases or to archives of
      information.  The Internet Resource Guide provides information
      regarding some of these sites.  The Internet Resource Guide lists
      facilities on the Internet that are available to users.  Such
      facilities include supercomputer centers, library catalogs and

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 3]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      specialized data collections.  The guide is maintained by the
      Directory Services portion of the InterNIC and is available online
      in a number of ways.  It is available for anonymous FTP from the
      host in the resource-guide directory.  It is also
      readable via the InterNIC gopher (gopher  For more
      information, contact or call the InterNIC at
      (800) 444-4345 or (908) 668-6587.

      Today the trend for Internet information services is to strive to
      present the users with a friendly interface to a variety of
      services.  The goal is to reduce the traditional needs for a user
      to know the source host of a service and the different command
      interfaces for different types of services.  The Internet Gopher
      (discussed more in the "Questions about Internet Services"
      section) is one such service to which you have access when you
      join the Internet.

   3.3  How do I find out if a site has a computer on the Internet?

      Frankly, it's almost impossible to find out if a site has a
      computer on the Internet by querying some Internet service itself.
      The most reliable way is to ask someone at the site you are
      interested in contacting.

      It is sometimes possible to find whether or not a site has been
      assigned an IP network number, which is a prerequisite for
      connecting an IP network to the Internet (which is only one type
      of Internet access).  To do so, query the WHOIS database,
      maintained by the Registration Services portion of the InterNIC.
      You have several options about how to do such a query.  The most
      common currently are to TELNET to the host and
      invoke one of the search interfaces provided, or to run a WHOIS
      client locally on your machine and use it to make a query across
      the network.

      The RIPE Network Coordination Center (RIPE NCC) also maintains a
      large database of sites to whom they have assigned IP network
      numbers.  You can query it by TELNETing to and
      stepping through the interactive interface they provide.

   3.4  How do I get a list of all the hosts on the Internet?

      You really don't want that.  The list includes more than 1.5
      million hosts.  Almost all of them require that you have access
      permission to actually use them.  You may really want to know
      which of these hosts provide services to the Internet community.
      Investigate using some of the network resource discovery tools,
      such as gopher, to gain easier access to Internet information.

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 4]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

4. Questions About TCP/IP

   4.1  What is TCP/IP?

      TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) [4,5,6]
      is the common name for a family of over 100 data-communications
      protocols used to organize computers and data-communications
      equipment into computer networks.  TCP/IP was developed to
      interconnect hosts on ARPANET, PRNET (packet radio), and SATNET
      (packet satellite).  All three of these networks have since been
      retired; but TCP/IP lives on.  It is currently used on a large
      international network of networks called the Internet, whose
      members include universities, other research institutions,
      government facilities, and many corporations.  TCP/IP is also
      sometimes used for other networks, particularly local area
      networks that tie together numerous different kinds of computers
      or tie together engineering workstations.

   4.2  What are the other well-known standard protocols in the TCP/IP

      Other than TCP and IP, the three main protocols in the TCP/IP
      suite are the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) [8], the File
      Transfer Protocol (FTP) [3], and the TELNET Protocol [9].  There
      are many other protocols in use on the Internet.  The Internet
      Architecture Board (IAB) regularly publishes an RFC [2] that
      describes the state of standardization of the various Internet
      protocols.  This document is the best guide to the current status
      of Internet protocols and their recommended usage.

5.  Questions About the Domain Name System

   5.1  What is the Domain Name System?

      The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical, distributed method
      of organizing the name space of the Internet.  The DNS
      administratively groups hosts into a hierarchy of authority that
      allows addressing and other information to be widely distributed
      and maintained.  A big advantage to the DNS is that using it
      eliminates dependence on a centrally-maintained file that maps
      host names to addresses.

   5.2  What is a Fully Qualified Domain Name?

      A Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) is a domain name that
      includes all higher level domains relevant to the entity named.
      If you think of the DNS as a tree-structure with each node having
      its own label, a Fully Qualified Domain Name for a specific node

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 5]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      would be its label followed by the labels of all the other nodes
      between it and the root of the tree.  For example, for a host, a
      FQDN would include the string that identifies the particular host,
      plus all domains of which the host is a part up to and including
      the top-level domain (the root domain is always null).  For
      example, is a Fully Qualified Domain Name for
      the host at  In addition, is the FQDN
      for the Ames Research Center (ARC) domain under

6. Questions About Internet Documentation

   6.1  What is an RFC?

      The Request for Comments documents (RFCs) are working notes of the
      Internet research and development community.  A document in this
      series may be on essentially any topic related to computer
      communication, and may be anything from a meeting report to the
      specification of a standard.  Submissions for Requests for
      Comments may be sent to the RFC Editor (RFC-EDITOR@ISI.EDU).  The
      RFC Editor is Jon Postel.

      Most RFCs are the descriptions of network protocols or services,
      often giving detailed procedures and formats for their
      implementation.  Other RFCs report on the results of policy
      studies or summarize the work of technical committees or
      workshops.  All RFCs are considered public domain unless
      explicitly marked otherwise.

      While RFCs are not refereed publications, they do receive
      technical review from either the task forces, individual technical
      experts, or the RFC Editor, as appropriate.  Currently, most
      standards are published as RFCs, but not all RFCs specify

      Anyone can submit a document for publication as an RFC.
      Submissions must be made via electronic mail to the RFC Editor.
      Please consult RFC 1543, "Instructions to RFC Authors" [10], for
      further information.  RFCs are accessible online in public access
      files, and a short message is sent to a notification distribution
      list indicating the availability of the memo.  Requests to be
      added to this distribution list should be sent to RFC-

      The online files are copied by interested people and printed or
      displayed at their sites on their equipment.  (An RFC may also be
      returned via electronic mail in response to an electronic mail
      query.) This means that the format of the online files must meet
      the constraints of a wide variety of printing and display

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 6]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994


      Once a document is assigned an RFC number and published, that RFC
      is never revised or re-issued with the same number.  There is
      never a question of having the most recent version of a particular
      RFC.  However, a protocol (such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP))
      may be improved and re-documented many times in several different
      RFCs.  It is important to verify that you have the most recent RFC
      on a particular protocol.  The "Internet Official Protocol
      Standards" [2] memo is the reference for determining the correct
      RFC to refer to for the current specification of each protocol.

   6.2  How do I obtain RFCs?

      RFCs are available online at several repositories around the
      world.  For a list of repositories and instructions about how to
      obtain RFCs from each of the major U.S. ones, send a message to  As the text of the message, type
      "help: ways_to_get_rfcs" (without the quotes).

      An example of obtaining RFCs online follows.

      RFCs can be obtained via FTP from with the
      pathname rfc/rfcNNNN.txt (where "NNNN" refers to the number of the
      RFC).  Login using FTP, username "anonymous" and your email
      address as password.  The Directory Services portion of the
      InterNIC also makes RFCs available via electronic mail, WAIS, and

      To obtain RFCs via electronic mail, send a mail message to and include any of the following commands
      in the message body:

         document-by-name rfcnnnn      where 'nnnn' is the RFC number
                                       The text version is sent.

         file /ftp/rfc/rfcnnnn.yyy     where 'nnnn' is the RFC number.
                                       and 'yyy' is 'txt' or 'ps'.

         help                          to get information on how to use
                                       the mailserver.

   6.3  How do I obtain a list of RFCs?

      Several sites make an index of RFCs available.  These sites are
      indicated in the ways_to_get_rfcs file mentioned above and in the
      next question.

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 7]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   6.4  What is the RFC-INFO service?

      The Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern
      California (ISI) has a service called RFC-INFO.  Even though this
      is a service, rather than a document, we'll discuss it in this
      section because it is so closely tied to RFC information.

      RFC-INFO is an email based service to help in locating and
      retrieval of RFCs, FYIs, STDs, and IMRs.  Users can ask for
      "lists" of all RFCs and FYIs having certain attributes ("filters")
      such as their ID, keywords, title, author, issuing organization,
      and date.  Once an RFC is uniquely identified (e.g., by its RFC
      number) it may also be retrieved.

      To use the service, send email to: RFC-INFO@ISI.EDU with your
      requests as the text of the message.  Feel free to put anything in
      the SUBJECT, the system ignores it.  All input is case
      independent.  Report problems to: RFC-MANAGER@ISI.EDU.

      To get started, you may send a message to RFC-INFO@ISI.EDU with
      requests such as in the following examples (without the
      explanations between brackets):

      Help: Help              [to get this information]

      List: FYI               [list the FYI notes]
      List: RFC               [list RFCs with window as keyword or
                               in title]
        keywords: window
      List: FYI               [list FYIs about windows]
        Keywords: window
      List: *                 [list both RFCs and FYIs about windows]
        Keywords: window
      List: RFC               [list RFCs about ARPANET, ARPA NETWORK,
        title: ARPA*NET
      List: RFC               [list RFCs issued by MITRE, dated
        Organization: MITRE
        Dated-after:  Jan-01-1989
        Dated-before: Dec-31-1991
      List: RFC               [list RFCs obsoleting a given RFC]
        Obsoletes: RFC10
      List: RFC               [list RFCs by authors starting with
        Author: Bracken*      [* is a wild card]
      List: RFC               [list RFCs by both Postel and Gillman]
        Authors: J. Postel    [note, the "filters" are ANDed]

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 8]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

        Authors: R. Gillman
      List: RFC               [list RFCs by any Crocker]
        Authors: Crocker
      List: RFC               [list only RFCs by S.D. Crocker]
        Authors: S.D. Crocker
      List: RFC               [list only RFCs by D. Crocker]
        Authors: D. Crocker

      Retrieve: RFC           [retrieve RFC-822]
        Doc-ID: RFC822       [note, always 4 digits in RFC#]

      Help: Manual            [to retrieve the long user manual,
                               30+ pages]
      Help: List              [how to use the LIST request]
      Help: Retrieve          [how to use the RETRIEVE request]
      Help: Topics            [list topics for which help is available]
      Help: Dates             ["Dates" is such a topic]
      List: keywords          [list the keywords in use]
      List: organizations     [list the organizations known to the

   6.5  Which RFCs are Standards?

      See "Internet Official Protocol Standards" (currently RFC 1540)
      [2].  This RFC documents the status of each RFC on the Internet
      standards track, as well as the status of RFCs of other types.  It
      is updated periodically; make sure you are referring to the most
      recent version.  In addition, the RFC Index maintained at the repository notes the status of each RFC listed.

   6.6  What is an FYI?

      FYI stands for For Your Information.  FYIs are a subset of the RFC
      series of online documents.

      FYI 1 states, "The FYI series of notes is designed to provide
      Internet users with a central repository of information about any
      topics which relate to the Internet.  FYI topics may range from
      historical memos on 'Why it was was done this way' to answers to
      commonly asked operational questions.  The FYIs are intended for a
      wide audience.  Some FYIs will cater to beginners, while others
      will discuss more advanced topics."

      In general, then, FYI documents tend to be more information
      oriented, while RFCs are usually (but not always) more technically

      FYI documents are assigned both an FYI number and an RFC number.

User Services Working Group                                     [Page 9]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      As RFCs, if an FYI is ever updated, it is issued again with a new
      RFC number; however, its FYI number remains unchanged.  This can
      be a little confusing at first, but the aim is to help users
      identify which FYIs are about which topics.  For example, FYI 4
      will always be FYI 4, even though it may be updated several times
      and during that process receive different RFC numbers.  Thus, you
      need only to remember the FYI number to find the proper document.
      Of course, remembering titles often works as well.

      FYIs can be obtained in the same way RFCs can and from the same
      repositories.  In general, their pathnames are fyi/fyiNN.txt or
      fyi/, where NN is the number of the FYI without leading

   6.7  What is an STD?

      The newest subseries of RFCs are the STDs (Standards).  RFC 1311
      [12], which introduces this subseries, states that the intent of
      STDs is to identify clearly those RFCs that document Internet
      standards.  An STD number will be assigned only to those
      specifications that have completed the full process of
      standardization in the Internet.  Existing Internet standards have
      been assigned STD numbers; a list of them can be found both in RFC
      1311 and in the, "Internet Official Protocol Standards" RFC.

      Like FYIs, once a standard has been assigned an STD number, that
      number will not change, even if the standard is reworked and re-
      specified and later issued with a new RFC number.

      It is important to differentiate between a "standard" and
      "document".  Different RFC documents will always have different
      RFC numbers.  However, sometimes the complete specification for a
      standard will be contained in more than one RFC document.  When
      this happens, each of the RFC documents that is part of the
      specification for that standard will carry the same STD number.
      For example, the Domain Name System (DNS) is specified by the
      combination of RFC 1034 and RFC 1035; therefore, both of those
      RFCs are labeled STD 13.

   6.8  What is the Internet Monthly Report?

      The Internet Monthly Report (IMR) communicates online to the
      Internet community the accomplishments, milestones reached, or
      problems discovered by the participating organizations.  Many
      organizations involved in the Internet provide monthly updates of
      their activities for inclusion in this report.  The IMR is for
      Internet information purposes only.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 10]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      You can receive the report online by joining the mailing list that
      distributes the report.  Requests to be added or deleted from the
      Internet Monthly Report list should be sent to "imr-".

      In addition, back issues of the Report are available for anonymous
      FTP from the host in the in-notes/imr directory, with
      the file names in the form imryymm.txt, where yy is the last two
      digits of the year and mm two digits for the month.  For example,
      the July 1992 Report is in the file imr9207.txt.

   6.9  What is an Internet Draft?  Are there any guidelines available
        for writing one?

      Internet Drafts (I-Ds) are the current working documents of the
      IETF.  Internet Drafts are generally in the format of an RFC with
      some key differences:

         -  The Internet Drafts are not RFCs and are not a numbered
            document series.

         -  The words INTERNET-DRAFT appear in place of RFC XXXX
            in the upper left-hand corner.

         -  The document does not refer to itself as an RFC or as a
            Draft RFC.

         -  An Internet Draft does not state nor imply that it is a
            proposed standard.  To do so conflicts with the role of
            the IAB, the RFC Editor, and the Internet Engineering
            Steering Group (IESG).

      An Internet Drafts directory has been installed to make draft
      documents available for review and comment by the IETF members.
      These draft documents that will ultimately be submitted to the IAB
      and the RFC Editor to be considered for publishing as RFCs.  The
      Internet Drafts Directories are maintained on several Internet
      sites.  There are several "shadow" machines which contain the IETF
      and Internet Drafts Directories.  They are:

         West Coast (US) Address: (
         East Coast (US) Address: (
         Europe Address: (
         Pacific Rim Address: (

      To access these directories, use anonymous FTP.  Login with
      username "anonymous" and your email address as password (or
      "guest" if that fails).  Once logged in, change to the desired

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 11]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      directory with "cd internet-drafts".  Internet Draft files can
      then be retrieved.  Once logged in, if you change to the directory
      "ietf", you can retrieve a file called "1id-guidelines.txt", which
      explains how to write and submit an Internet Draft.

   6.10  How do I obtain OSI Standards documents?

      OSI Standards documents are NOT available from the Internet via
      anonymous FTP due to copyright restrictions.  These are available

         Omnicom Information Service
         501 Church Street NE
         Suite 304
         Vienna, VA  22180  USA
         Telephone: (800) 666-4266 or (703) 281-1135
         Fax: (703) 281-1505

         American National Standards Institute
         11 West 42nd Street
         New York, NY  10036  USA
         Telephone: (212) 642-4900

      However, the GOSIP specification which covers the use of OSI
      protocols within the U.S. Government is available from the
      National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The final
      text of GOSIP Version 2 is now available from both sites.

      Online sources:

         Available through anonymous FTP from
         ( as:

            ./pub/gosip/gosip_v2.txt        -- ascii
            ./pub/gosip/gosip_v2.txt.Z      -- ascii compressed
            ./pub/gosip/         -- PostScript
            ./pub/gosip/       -- PostScript compressed

        Hardcopy source:

           Standards Processing Coordinator (ADP)
           National Institute of Standards and Technology
           Technology Building, Room B-64
           Gaithersburg, MD  20899
           (301) 975-2816

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 12]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

7.  Questions about Internet Organizations and Contacts

   7.1  What is the IAB?

      The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is concerned with technical
      and policy issues involving the evolution of the Internet
      architecture [7].  IAB members are deeply committed to making the
      Internet function effectively and evolve to meet a large scale,
      high speed future.  The chairman serves a term of two years and is
      elected by the members of the IAB.  The IAB focuses on the TCP/IP
      protocol suite, and extensions to the Internet system to support
      multiple protocol suites.

      The IAB performs the following functions:

         1)   Reviews Internet Standards,

         2)   Manages the RFC publication process,

         3)   Reviews the operation of the IETF and IRTF,

         4)   Performs strategic planning for the Internet, identifying
              long-range problems and opportunities,

         5)   Acts as an international technical policy liaison and
              representative for the Internet community, and

         6)   Resolves technical issues which cannot be treated within
              the IETF or IRTF frameworks.

      The IAB has two principal subsidiary task forces:

         1)  Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

         2)  Internet Research Task Force (IRTF)

      Each of these Task Forces is led by a chairman and guided by a
      Steering Group which reports to the IAB through its chairman.  For
      the most part, a collection of Research or Working Groups carries
      out the work program of each Task Force.

      All decisions of the IAB are made public.  The principal vehicle
      by which IAB decisions are propagated to the parties interested in
      the Internet and its TCP/IP protocol suite is the Request for
      Comments (RFC) note series and the Internet Monthly Report.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 13]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   7.2  What is the IETF?

      The Internet has grown to encompass a large number of widely
      geographically dispersed networks in academic and research
      communities.  It now provides an infrastructure for a broad
      community with various interests.  Moreover, the family of
      Internet protocols and system components has moved from
      experimental to commercial development.  To help coordinate the
      operation, management and evolution of the Internet, the IAB
      established the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

      The IETF is a large open community of network designers,
      operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the Internet
      and the Internet protocol suite.  The activity is performed in a
      number of working groups organized around a set of several
      technical areas, each working group has a chair, and each area is
      managed by a technical area director.  The IETF overall is managed
      by its chair and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG),
      which is made up of the area directors.

      The IAB has delegated to the IESG the general responsibility for
      the resolution of short- and mid-range protocol and architectural
      issues required to make the Internet function effectively, and the
      development of Internet standards.

   7.3  What is the IRTF?

      To promote research in networking and the development of new
      technology, the IAB established the Internet Research Task Force
      (IRTF).  The IRTF is a set of research groups, generally with an
      Internet focus.  The work of the IRTF is governed by its Internet
      Research Steering Group (IRSG).

      In the area of network protocols, the distinction between research
      and engineering is not always clear, so there will sometimes be
      overlap between activities of the IETF and the IRTF.  There is, in
      fact, considerable overlap in membership between the two groups.
      This overlap is regarded as vital for cross-fertilization and
      technology transfer.

   7.4  What is the Internet Society?

      The Internet Society is a relatively new, professional, non-profit
      organization with the general goal of fostering the well-being and
      continued interest in, and evolution and use of the Internet.  The
      Society (often abbreviated ISOC) is integrating the IAB, IETF, and
      IRTF functions into its operation.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 14]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      The following goals of the Society are taken from its charter:

         A.  To facilitate and support the technical evolution of
             the Internet as a research and education infrastructure,
             and to stimulate the involvement of the scientific
             community, industry, government and others in the
             evolution of the Internet;

         B.  To educate the scientific community, industry and the
             public at large concerning the technology, use and
             application of the Internet;

         C.  To promote educational applications of Internet
             technology for the benefit of government, colleges and
             universities, industry, and the public at large;

         D.  To provide a forum for exploration of new Internet
             applications, and to stimulate collaboration among
             organizations in their operational use of the global

      More information about the Internet Society is available for
      anonymous FTP from the host: in the directory: isoc.
      Information is also available via the ISOC gopher, accessible via
      "gopher" if you are running a gopher client.

   7.5  What is the IANA?

      The task of coordinating the assignment of values to the
      parameters of protocols is delegated by the Internet Architecture
      Board (IAB) to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
      These protocol parameters include op-codes, type fields, terminal
      types, system names, object identifiers, and so on.  The "Assigned
      Numbers" Request for Comments (RFC) [1] documents the currently
      assigned values from several series of numbers used in network
      protocol implementations.  Internet addresses and Autonomous
      System numbers are assigned by the Registration Services portion
      of the InterNIC.  The IANA is located at USC/Information Sciences

      Current types of assignments listed in Assigned Numbers and
      maintained by the IANA are:

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 15]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

         Address Resolution Protocol Parameters
         BOOTP Parameters and BOOTP Extension Codes
         Character Sets
         Domain System Parameters
         Encoding Header Field Keywords
         ESMTP Mail Keywords
         Ethernet Multicast Addresses
         Ethernet Numbers of Interest
         Ethernet Vendor Address Components
         IANA Ethernet Address Block
         ICMP Type Numbers
         IEEE 802 Numbers of Interest
         Internet Protocol Numbers
         Internet Version Numbers
         IP Option Numbers
         IP Time to Live Parameter
         IP TOS Parameters
         Internet Multicast Addresses
         Inverse Address Resolution Protocol
         Machine Names
         Mail Encryption Types
         Mail System Names
         Mail Transmission Types
         MILNET X.25 Address Mappings
         MILNET Logical Addresses
         MILNET Link Numbers
         MIME Types
         MIME/X.400 Mapping Tables
         Network Management Parameters
         Novell Numbers
         Operating System Names
         OSPF Authentication Codes
         Point-to-Point Protocol Field Assignments
         Protocol Numbers
         Protocol and Service Names
         Protocol/Type Field Assignments
         Public Data Network Numbers
         Reverse Address Resolution Protocol Operation Codes
         SUN RPC Numbers
         TCP Option Numbers
         TCP Alternate Checksum Numbers
         TELNET Options
         Terminal Type Names
         Version Numbers
         Well Known and Registered Port Numbers
         X.25 Type Numbers
         XNS Protocol Types

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 16]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      For more information on number assignments, contact: IANA@ISI.EDU.

   7.6  What is a NIC?  What is a NOC?

      "NIC" stands for Network Information Center.  It is an
      organization which provides network users with information about
      services provided by the network.

      "NOC" stands for Network Operations Center.  It is an organization
      that is responsible for maintaining a network.

      For many networks, especially smaller, local networks, the
      functions of the NIC and NOC are combined.  For larger networks,
      such as mid-level and backbone networks, the NIC and NOC
      organizations are separate, yet they do need to interact to fully
      perform their functions.

   7.7  What is the InterNIC?

      The InterNIC is a five year project partially supported by the
      National Science Foundation to provide network information
      services to the networking community.  The InterNIC began
      operations in April of 1993 and is a collaborative project of
      three organizations: General Atomics provides Information Services
      from their location in San Diego, CA; AT&T provides Directory and
      Database Services from South Plainsfield, NJ; and Network
      Solutions, Inc. provides Registration Services from their
      headquarters in Herndon, VA.  Services are provided via the
      network electronically, and by telephone, FAX, and hardcopy

      General Atomics offers Information Services acting as the "NIC of
      first and last resort" by providing a Reference Desk for new and
      experienced users, and midlevel and campus NICs.  The InterNIC
      Reference Desk offers introductory materials and pointers to
      network resources and tools.

      AT&T services include the Directory of Directories, Directory
      Services, and Database Services to store data available to all
      Internet users.

      Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) provides Internet registration
      services including IP address allocation, domain registration, and
      Autonomous System Number assignment.  NSI also tracks points of
      contact for networks and domain servers and provides online and
      telephone support for questions related to IP address or domain
      name registration.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 17]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      All three portions of the InterNIC can be reached by calling (800)
      444-4345 or by sending a message to  Callers
      from outside the U.S. can telephone +1 (619) 445-4600.  Extensive
      online information is available at host,
      accessible via gopher or TELNET.

   7.8  What is the DDN NIC (

      The DDN NIC is the Defense Data Network NIC.  Until the formation
      of the InterNIC, the DDN NIC had been responsible for many
      services to the whole Internet, especially for registration
      services.  Now the DDN NIC focuses on serving its primary
      constituency of MILNET users.  Its host is; the
      address may still be in older Internet
      registration documentation.  The DDN NIC maintains close ties to
      the newer InterNIC.

   7.9  What is the IR?

      The Internet Registry (IR) is the organization that is responsible
      for assigning identifiers, such as IP network numbers and
      autonomous system numbers, to networks.  The IR also gathers and
      registers such assigned information.  The IR delegates some number
      assignment authority to regional registries (such as NCC@RIPE.NET
      and APNIC-STAFF@APNIC.NET).  However, it will continue to gather
      data regarding such assignments.  At present, the Registration
      Services portion of the InterNIC at Network Solutions, Inc.,
      serves as the IR.

8. Questions About Services

   8.1  How do I find someone's electronic mail address?

      There are a number of directories on the Internet; however, all of
      them are far from complete.  Many people can be found, however,
      via the InterNIC WHOIS services, or KNOWBOT.  Generally, it is
      still necessary to ask the person for his or her email address.

   8.2  How do I use the WHOIS program at the InterNIC Registration

      There are several ways to search the WHOIS database.  You can
      TELNET to the InterNIC registration host,  There
      is no need to login.  Type "whois" to call up the information
      retrieval program, or choose one of the other options presented to
      you.  Help is available for each option.  You can also run a
      client of the WHOIS server and point it at any whois database
      you'd like to search.  Pointing a client at the whois server

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 18]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994 will enable you to query the databases at three
      hosts:,, and

      For more information, contact the InterNIC at (800) 444-4345 or
      the registration services group at (703) 742-4777.

   8.3  How do I use the Knowbot Information Service?

      The Knowbot Information Service is a white pages "meta-service"
      that provides a uniform interface to heterogeneous white pages
      services in the Internet.  Using the Knowbot Information Service,
      you can form a single query that can search for white pages
      information from the NIC WHOIS service, the PSI White Pages Pilot
      Project, and MCI Mail, among others, and have the responses
      displayed in a single, uniform format.

      Currently, the Knowbot Information Service can be accessed through
      TELNET to port 185 on hosts and  From a UNIX host, use "telnet
      185".  There is also an electronic mail interface available by
      sending mail to netaddress at either or

      The commands "help" and "man" summarize the command interface.
      Simply entering a user name at the prompt searches a default list
      of Internet directory services for the requested information.
      Organization and country information can be included through the
      syntax: "".  For example, the queries
      "droms@bucknell" and "" are both valid.  Note that
      these are not Domain Names, but rather a syntax to specify an
      organization and a country for the search.

   8.4  What is the White Pages at PSI?

      Performance Systems International, Inc. (PSI), sponsors a White
      Pages Project that collects personnel information from member
      organizations into a database and provides online access to that
      data.  This effort is based on the OSI X.500 Directory standard.

      To access the data, TELNET to WP.PSI.COM and login as "fred" (no
      password is necessary).  You may now look up information on
      participating organizations.  The program provides help on usage.
      For example, typing "help" will show you a list of commands,
      "manual" will give detailed documentation, and "whois" will
      provide information regarding how to find references to people.
      For a list of the organizations that are participating in the
      pilot project by providing information regarding their members,
      type "whois -org *".

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 19]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      Access to the White Pages data is also possible via programs that
      act as X.500 Directory User Agent (DUA) clients.

      For more information, send a message to WP-INFO@PSI.COM.

   8.5  What is USENET?  What is Netnews?

      USENET is the formal name, and Netnews a common informal name, for
      a distributed computer information service that some hosts on the
      Internet use.  USENET handles only news and not mail.  USENET uses
      a variety of underlying networks for transport, including parts of
      the Internet, BITNET, and others.  Netnews can be a valuable tool
      to economically transport traffic that would otherwise be sent via
      mail.  USENET has no central administration.

   8.6  How do I get a Netnews feed?

      To get a Netnews feed, you must acquire the server software, which
      is available for some computers at no cost from some anonymous FTP
      sites across the Internet, and you must find an existing USENET
      site that is willing to support a connection to your computer.  In
      many cases, this "connection" merely represents additional traffic
      over existing Internet access channels.

      One well-known anonymous FTP archive site for software and
      information regarding USENET is  There is a "news"
      directory which contains many software distribution and
      information sub-directories.

      It is recommended that new users subscribe to and read
      news.announce.newusers since it will help to become oriented to
      USENET and the Internet.

   8.7  What is a newsgroup?

      A newsgroup is a bulletin board which readers interested in that
      newsgroup's particular topic can read and respond to messages
      posted by other readers.  Generally, there will be a few "threads"
      of discussion going on at the same time, but they all share some
      common theme.  There are approximately 900 newsgroups, and there
      are more being added all the time.

      There are two types of newsgroups: moderated and unmoderated.  A
      moderated newsgroup does not allow individuals to post directly to
      the newsgroup.  Rather, the postings go to the newsgroup's
      moderator who determines whether or not to pass the posting to the
      entire group.  An unmoderated newsgroup allows a reader to post
      directly to the other readers.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 20]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   8.8  How do I subscribe to a newsgroup?

      You don't subscribe to a newsgroup.  Either you get it on your
      machine or you don't.  If there's one you want, all you can do is
      ask the systems administrator to try to get it for you.

   8.9  What is anonymous FTP?

      Anonymous FTP is a conventional way of allowing you to sign on to
      a computer on the Internet and copy specified public files from it
      [3].  Some sites offer anonymous FTP to distribute software and
      various kinds of information.  You use it like any FTP, but the
      username is "anonymous".  Many systems will request that the
      password you choose is your email address.  If this fails, the
      generic password is usually "guest".

   8.10  What is "archie"?

      The archie system was created to automatically track anonymous FTP
      archive sites, and this is still its primary function.  The system
      currently makes available the names and locations of some
      2,100,000 files at some 1,000 archive sites.

      Archie's User Access component allows you to search the "files"
      database for these filenames.  When matches are found, you are
      presented with the appropriate archive site name, IP address, the
      location within the archive, and other useful information.

      You can also use archie to "browse" through a site's complete
      listing in search of information of interest, or obtain a complete
      list of the archive sites known to that server.

      The archie server also offers a "package descriptions" (or
      "whatis") database.  This is a collection of names and
      descriptions gathered from a variety of sources and can be used to
      identify files located throughout the Internet, as well as other
      useful information.  Files identified in the whatis database can
      then be found by searching the files database as described above.

   8.11  How do I connect to archie?

      You can connect to archie in a variety of ways. There is a
      conventional TELNET interface, an electronic mail interface, and a
      variety of client programs available.  The use of a client is
      strongly encouraged.  There are currently 22 archie servers
      located throughout the world.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 21]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      To try the TELNET interface to archie you can TELNET to one of the
      22 archie servers (preferably the one nearest you, and during
      non-peak hours).  Log in as "archie" (no password is required).
      Type "help" to get you started.

      Here is a list of archie servers as of the date this was written:

*             Australia
*      Austria
*    Austria
*     Canada
*    Germany
*          Israel
*     Italy
*     Korea
*    Korea
*     Norway
*     Spain
*       Sweden
*      Switzerland
*   Taiwan
*    United Kingdom
         USA (NE)
*    USA (NJ)
*     USA (NJ)
        USA (NY)
*   USA (MD)

      Note: Sites marked with an asterisk "*" run archie version 3.0.

      You can obtain details on using the electronic mail interface by
      sending mail to "archie" at any of the above server hosts.  Put
      the word "help" as the text of your message for directions.

      Questions, comments, and suggestions can be sent to the archie
      development group by sending mail to

   8.12  What is "gopher"?

      The Internet Gopher presents an extremely wide variety of diverse
      types of information in an easy to use menu-driven interface.
      Gopher servers link information from all around the Internet in a
      manner that can be transparent to the user. (Users can easily
      discover the source of any piece of information, however, if they
      wish.)  For example, gopher links databases of every type,
      applications, white pages directories, sounds, and pictures.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 22]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      Some gophers are available via TELNET.  Since most gophers are
      linked to other gophers, if you can get to one, you can get to
      many.  You can, for example, telnet to and use their
      public gopher.

      The best way to use the gopher service, as with all client/server
      type services, is by running your own gopher client.  The Internet
      Gopher was developed at the University of Minnesota.  More
      information is available for anonymous FTP on the host

   8.13  What is the World Wide Web?  What is Mosaic?

      The World Wide Web is a distributed, hypermedia-based Internet
      information browser.  It presents users with a friendly point and
      click interface to a wide variety of types of information (text,
      graphics, sounds, movies, etc.) and Internet services.  It is
      possible to use the Web to access FTP archives, databases, and
      even gopher servers.

      The most familiar implementations of the World Wide Web are the
      Mosaic clients developed by the National Center for Supercomputing
      Applications (NCSA).  Mosaic software is available online at

   8.14  How do I find out about other Internet resource discovery

      The field of Internet resource discovery tools is one of the most
      dynamic on the Internet today.  There are several tools in
      addition to those discussed here that are useful for discovering
      or searching Internet resources.   The EARN (European Academic and
      Research Network) Association has compiled an excellent document
      that introduces many of these services and provides information
      about how to find out more about them.  To obtain the document,
      send a message to listserv@earncc.bitnet or  As the text of your
      message, type "GET filename" where the filename is either
      "nettools ps" or "nettols memo".  The former is in PostScript
      format.  This document is also available for anonymous FTP on some
      hosts, including, where it is available in the
      files/general_info directory as and earn-resource-tool-guide.txt.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 23]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   8.15  What is "TELNET"?

      The term "TELNET" refers to the remote login that's possible on
      the Internet because of the TELNET Protocol [9].  The use of this
      term as a verb, as in "telnet to a host" means to establish a
      connection across the Internet from one host to another.  Usually,
      you must have an account on the remote host to be able to login to
      it once you've made a connection.  However, some hosts, such as
      those offering white pages directories, provide public services
      that do not require a personal account.

      If your host supports TELNET, your command to connect to a remote
      host would probably be "telnet <hostname>" or "telnet <host IP
      address>".  For example, "telnet" or "telnet".

9. Mailing Lists and Sending Mail

   9.1  What is a mailing list?

      A mailing list is an email address that stands for a group of
      people rather than for an individual.  Mailing lists are usually
      created to discuss specific topics.  Anybody interested in that
      topic, may (usually) join that list.  Some mailing lists have
      membership restrictions, others have message content restrictions,
      and still others are moderated.  Most "public" mailing lists have
      a second email address to handle administrative matters, such as
      requests to be added to or deleted from the list.  All
      subscription requests should be sent to the administrative address
      rather than to the list itself!

   9.2  How do I contact the administrator of a mailing list rather
        than posting to the entire list?

      Today there are two main methods used by mailing list
      adminstrators to handle requests to subscribe or unsubscribe from
      their lists.  The administrative address for many lists has the
      same name as the list itself, but with "-request" appended to the
      list name.  So, to join the list,
      you would send a message to ietf-announce-  Most often, requests to a "-request"
      mailbox are handled by a human and you can phrase your request as
      a normal message.

      More often today, especially for lists with many readers,
      administrators prefer to have a program handle routine list
      administration.  Many lists are accessible via LISTSERVE programs
      or other mailing list manager programs.  If this is the case, the

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 24]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      administrative address will usually be something like
      "listserv@host.domain", where the address for the mailing list
      itself will be "list@host.domain".  The same listserve address can
      handle requests for all mailing lists at that host.  When talking
      with a program, your subscription request will often be in the
      form, "subscribe ListName YourFirstName YourLastName" where you
      substitute the name of the list for ListName and add your real
      name at the end.

      The  important thing to  remember is that  all administrative
      messages regarding using, joining, or  quitting a list should   be
      sent to  the administrative mailbox  instead  of to  the  whole
      list  so  that  the readers of the list don't have to read them.

   9.3  How do I send mail to other networks?

      Mail to the Internet is addressed in the form user@host.domain.
      Remember that a domain name can have several components and the
      name of each host is a node on the domain tree.  So, an example of
      an Internet mail address is

      There are several networks accessible via email from the Internet,
      but many of these networks do not use the same addressing
      conventions the Internet does.  Often you must route mail to these
      networks through specific gateways as well, thus further
      complicating the address.

      Here are a few conventions you can use for sending mail from the
      Internet to three networks with which Internet users often

        Internet user to Internet user:

          username@hostname.subdomain.toplevel domain
          e.g. gsmith@nisc.sri.COM

        Internet user to BITNET user:


        Internet user to UUCP user:

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 25]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

        Internet user to SprintMail user:

          (Case is significant.)

        Internet user to CompuServe user:

          Replace the comma in the CompuServe userid (represented here
          with x's) with a period, and add the domain

        CompuServe user to Internet user:

          Insert >internet: before an Internet address.

        Internet user to MCIMail user:

10.  Miscellaneous "Internet lore" questions

   10.1  What does :-) mean?

      In many electronic mail messages, it is sometimes useful to
      indicate that part of a message is meant in jest.  It is also
      sometimes useful to communicate emotion which simple words do not
      readily convey.  To provide these nuances, a collection of "smiley
      faces" has evolved.  If you turn your head sideways to the left,
      :-) appears as a smiling face.  Some of the more common faces are:

         :-)  smile                    :-(  frown

         :)   also a smile             ;-)  wink

         :-D  laughing                 8-)  wide-eyed

         :-}  grin                     :-X  close mouthed

         :-]  smirk                    :-o  oh, no!

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 26]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   10.2  What do "btw", "fyi", "imho", "wrt", and "rtfm" mean?

      Often common expressions are abbreviated in informal network
      postings.  These abbreviations stand for "by the way", "for your
      information", "in my humble [or honest] opinion", "with respect
      to", and "read the f*ing manual" (with the "f" word varying
      according to the vehemence of the reader :-).

   10.3  What is the "FAQ" list?

      This list provides answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" that
      often appear on various USENET newsgroups.  The list is posted
      every four to six weeks to the news.announce.newusers group.  It
      is intended to provide a background for new users learning how to
      use the news.  As the FAQ list provide new users with the answers
      to such questions, it helps keep the newsgroups themselves
      comparatively free of repetition.  Often specific newsgroups will
      have and frequently post versions of a FAQ list that are specific
      to their topics.  The term FAQ has become generalized so that any
      topic may have its FAQ even if it is not a newsgroup.

      Here is information about obtaining the USENET FAQs, courtesy of
      Gene Spafford:

      Many questions can be answered by consulting the most recent
      postings in the news.announce.newusers and news.lists groups.  If
      those postings have expired from your site, or you do not get
      news, you can get archived postings from the FTP server on the

      These archived postings include all the Frequently Asked Questions
      posted to the news.answers newsgroups, as well as the most recent
      lists of Usenet newsgroups, Usenet-accessible mailing lists, group
      moderators, and other Usenet-related information posted to the
      news.announce.newusers and news.lists groups.

      To get the material by FTP, log in using anonymous FTP (userid of
      anonymous and your email address as password).

      The archived files, and FAQ files from other newsgroups, are all
      in the directory:


User Services Working Group                                    [Page 27]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      Archived files from news.announce.newusers and news.lists are in:



      To get the information by mail, send an email message to: mail- containing:

                  send usenet/news.answers/TITLE/PART

      where TITLE is the archive title, and PART is the portion of the
      posting you want.

      Send a message containing "help" to get general information about
      the mail server, including information on how to get a list of
      archive titles to use in further send commands.

11.  Suggested Reading

   For further information about the Internet and its protocols in
   general, you may choose to obtain copies of the following works as
   well as some of the works listed as References:

      Krol, Ed. (1992) The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog, 400
      p. O'Reilly and Assoc., Inc.  Sebastopol, CA.

      Dern, Daniel P. (1993)  The Internet Guide for New Users, 570 p.
      McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York, NY.

      Fisher, Sharon. (1993) Riding the Internet Highway, 266 p. New
      Riders Publishing, Carmel, IN.

      Frey, Donnalyn and Rick Adams. (1993) !%@:: A Directory of
      Electronic Mail Addressing and Networks, (third edition) 443 p.
      O'Reilly & Assoc., Inc. Sebastopol, CA.

      Hoffman, Ellen and Lenore Jackson. (1993) "FYI on Introducing the
      Internet: A Short Bibliography of Introductory Internetworking
      Readings for the Network Novice," 4 p. (FYI 19/RFC 1463).

      Kehoe, Brendan P. (1993) Zen and the Art of the Internet: A
      Beginner's Guide, (second edition) 112 p. Prentice Hall, Englewood
      Cliffs, NJ.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 28]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

      LaQuey, Tracy with Jeanne C. Ryer. (1992) The Internet Companion:
      A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking, 208 p. Addison-Wesley,
      Reading, MA.

      Malkin, Gary, S. and Tracy LaQuey Parker. (1993) "Internet Users'
      Glossary," 53 p. (FYI 18/RFC 1392).

      Marine, April, et al. (1993) Internet: Getting Started, 360 p.
      Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

      Martin, Jerry. (1993) "There's Gold in them thar Networks! or
      Searching for Treasure in all the Wrong Places," 39 p. (FYI 10/RFC

      Quarterman, John. (1993) "Recent Internet Books," 15 p. (RFC

12.  References

   [1] Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", STD 2, RFC 1340,
       USC/Information Sciences Institute, July 1992.

   [2] Postel, J., Editor, "Internet Official Protocol Standards", STD
       1, RFC 1540, Internet Architecture Board, October 1993.

   [3] Postel, J., and J. Reynolds, "File Transfer Protocol (FTP), STD
       9, RFC 959, USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1985.

   [4] Postel, J., "Internet Protocol - DARPA Internet Program Protocol
       Specification", STD 5, RFC 791, DARPA, September 1981.

   [5] Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol - DARPA Internet
       Program Protocol Specification", STD 7, RFC 793, DARPA, September

   [6] Leiner, B., Cole, R., Postel, J., and D. Mills, "The DARPA
       Internet Protocol Suite", IEEE INFOCOM85, Washington D.C., March
       1985.  Also in IEEE Communications Magazine, March 1985.  Also as

   [7] Cerf, V., "The Internet Activities Board" RFC 1160, CNRI, May

   [8] Postel, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", STD 10, RFC 821,
       USC/Information Sciences Institute, August 1982.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 29]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

   [9] Postel, J., and J. Reynolds, "TELNET Protocol Specification", STD
       8, RFC 854, USC/Information Sciences Institute, May 1983.

  [10] Postel, J., "Instructions to RFC Authors", RFC 1543,
       USC/Information Sciences Institute, October 1993.

  [11] Malkin, G., Marine, A., and J. Reynolds, "FYI on Questions and
       Answers: Answers to Commonly Asked 'Experienced Internet User'
       Questions", FYI 7, RFC 1207, FTP Software, SRI, USC/Information
       Sciences Institute, February 1991.

  [12] Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311,
       USC/Information Sciences Institute, March 1992.

  [13] Krol, E., and E. Hoffman, "FYI on 'What is the Internet?'", FYI
       20, RFC 1462, University of Illinois, Merit Network, Inc., May

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 30]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

13.  Condensed Glossary

   As with any profession, computers have a particular terminology all
   their own.  Below is a condensed glossary to assist in making some
   sense of the Internet world.

ACM     Association for Computing Machinery
        A group established in 1947 to promote professional
        development and research on computers.

address There are three types of addresses in common use within the
        Internet.  They are email address; IP, internet or Internet
        address; and hardware or MAC address. An electronic mail
        address is the string of characters that you must give an
        electronic mail program to direct a message to a particular
        person.  A MAC address is the hardware address of a device
        connected to a shared media.  See "internet address" for its

AI      Artificial Intelligence
        The branch of computer science which deals with the
        simulation of human intelligence by computer systems.

AIX     Advanced Interactive Executive
        IBM's version of Unix.

ANSI    American National Standards Institute
        This organization is responsible for approving U.S. standards
        in many areas, including computers and communications.
        Standards approved by this organization are often called ANSI
        standards (e.g., ANSI C is the version of the C language
        approved by ANSI).  ANSI is a member of ISO.  See also:
        International Organization for Standardization.

ARP     Address Resolution Protocol
        Used to dynamically discover the low level physical network
        hardware address that corresponds to the high level IP address
        for a given host.  ARP is limited to physical network systems
        that support broadcast packets that can be heard by all hosts
        on the network.  It is defined in STD 37, RFC 826.

ARPA    Advanced Research Projects Agency
        An agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for
        the development of new technology for use by the military.
        ARPA was responsible for funding much of the development of
        the Internet we know today, including the Berkeley version of
        Unix and TCP/IP.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 31]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

ARPANET Advanced Research Projects Agency Network
        A pioneering longhaul network funded by ARPA.  It
        served as the basis for early networking research as
        well as a central backbone during the development of
        the Internet.  The ARPANET consisted of individual
        packet switching computers interconnected by leased lines.

AS      Autonomous System
        A collection of routers under a single
        administrative authority using a common Interior Gateway
        Protocol for routing packets.

ASCII   American (National) Standard Code for Information Interchange
        A standard character-to-number encoding widely used in the
        computer industry.

B       Byte
        One character of information, usually eight bits wide.

b       bit - binary digit
        The smallest amount of information which may be stored
        in a computer.

BBN     Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc.
        The Cambridge, MA company responsible for development,
        operation and monitoring of the ARPANET, and later,
        the Internet core gateway system, the CSNET Coordination
        and Information Center (CIC), and NSFNET Network
        Service Center (NNSC).

BITNET  An academic computer network that provides interactive
        electronic mail and file transfer services, using a
        store-and-forward protocol, based on IBM Network Job Entry
        protocols.  BITNET-II encapsulates the BITNET protocol within
        IP packets and depends on the Internet to route them.  There
        are three main constituents of the network: BITNET in
        the United States and Mexico, NETNORTH in Canada, and EARN in
        Europe.  There are also AsiaNet, in Japan, and connections in
        South America.  See CREN.

bps     bits per second
        A measure of data transmission speed.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 32]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

BSD     Berkeley Software Distribution
        Implementation of the UNIX operating system and its utilities
        developed and distributed by the University of California at
        Berkeley.  "BSD" is usually preceded by the version number of
        the distribution, e.g., "4.3 BSD" is version 4.3 of the
        Berkeley UNIX distribution.  Many Internet hosts run BSD
        software, and it is the ancestor of many commercial UNIX

catenet A network in which hosts are connected to networks
        with varying characteristics, and the networks
        are interconnected by gateways (routers).  The
        Internet is an example of a catenet.

CCITT   International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee
        This organization is part of the United National International
        Telecommunications Union (ITU) and is responsible for making
        technical recommendations about telephone and data
        communications systems.

core gateway
        Historically, one of a set of gateways (routers)
        operated by the Internet Network Operations Center
        at BBN.  The core gateway system forms a central part
        of Internet routing in that all groups had to advertise
        paths to their networks from a core gateway.

CREN    The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking
        This organization was formed in October 1989, when BITNET and
        CSNET (Computer + Science NETwork) were combined under one
        administrative authority.  CSNET is no longer operational, but
        CREN still runs BITNET.  See also: BITNET.


        A self-contained, independent entity of data carrying
        sufficient information to be routed from the source
        to the destination computer without reliance on earlier
        exchanges between this source and destination computer and
        the transporting network.

DCA     Defense Communications Agency
        Former name of the Defense Information Systems Agency
        (DISA).  See DISA.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 33]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

DDN     Defense Data Network
        A global communications network serving the US Department of
        Defense composed of MILNET, other portions of the Internet,
        and classified networks which are not part of the Internet.
        The DDN is used to connect military installations and is
        managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
        See also: DISA.

DDN NIC The Defense Data Network Network Information Center
        The network information center at Network Solutions, Inc.,
        funded by DISA, that provides information services to the
        DDN community.  It is also a primary repository for RFCs, and
        a delegated registration authority for military networks.

DEC     Digital Equipment Corporation

DECnet  Digital Equipment Corporation network
        A proprietary network protocol designed by Digital Equipment
        Corporation.  The functionality of each Phase of the
        implementation, such as Phase IV and Phase V, is different.

default route
        A routing table entry which is used to direct packets
        addressed to networks not explicitly listed in the routing table.

DISA    Defense Information Systems Agency
        Formerly called DCA, this is the government agency
        responsible for installing the Defense Data Network
        (DDN) portion of the Internet, including the MILNET
        lines and nodes.  Currently, DISA administers the
        DDN, and supports the user assistance services of the
        DDN NIC.

DNS     The Domain Name System is a general purpose distributed,
        replicated, data query service.  The principal use is the
        lookup of host IP addresses based on host names.  The style of
        host names now used in the Internet is called "domain name",
        because they are the style of names used to look up anything
        in the DNS.  Some important domains are: .COM (commercial),
        .EDU (educational), .NET (network operations), .GOV (U.S.
        government), and .MIL (U.S. military).  Most countries also
        have a domain.  For example, .US (United States), .UK (United
        Kingdom), .AU (Australia).  It is defined in STD 13, RFCs 1034
        and 1035.

DOD     U.S. Department of Defense

DOE     U.S. Department of Energy

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 34]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

dot address (dotted address notation)
        Dot address refers to the common notation for IP addresses of
        the form A.B.C.D; where each letter represents, in decimal,
        one byte of a four byte IP address.

Dynamic Adaptive Routing
        Automatic rerouting of traffic based on a sensing and analysis
        of current actual network conditions.  NOTE: this does not
        include cases of routing decisions taken on predefined

EARN    European Academic Research Network

EBCDIC  Extended Binary-coded Decimal Interchange Code
        A standard character-to-number encoding used primarily by IBM
        computer systems.  See also: ASCII.

EGP     Exterior Gateway Protocol
        A protocol which distributes routing information to the
        routers which connect autonomous systems.  The term "gateway"
        is historical, as "router" is currently the preferred term.
        There is also a routing protocol called EGP defined in STD 18,
        RFC 904.

        A 10-Mb/s standard for LANs, initially developed by Xerox,
        and later refined by Digital, Intel and Xerox (DIX).  All
        hosts are connected to a coaxial cable where they contend for
        network access using a Carrier Sense Multiple Access with
        Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) paradigm.

FDDI    Fiber Distributed Data Interface
        A high-speed (100Mb/s) LAN standard.  The underlying medium is
        fiber optics, and the topology is a dual-attached,
        counter-rotating token ring.

FIPS    Federal Information Processing Standard

FTP     File Transfer Protocol
        A protocol which allows a user on one host to access, and
        transfer files to and from, another host over a network.
        Also, FTP is usually the name of the program the user invokes
        to execute the protocol.  It is defined in STD 9, RFC 959.

gateway See router.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 35]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

GB      Gigabyte
        A unit of data storage size which represents 10^9 (one
        billion) characters of information.

Gb      Gigabit
        10^9 bits of information (usually used to express a
        data transfer rate; as in, 1 gigabit/second = 1Gbps).

GNU     Gnu's Not UNIX
        A UNIX-compatible operating system developed by the
        Free Software Foundation.

header The portion of a packet, preceding the actual data, containing
        source and destination addresses, and error checking and other
        fields.  A header is also the part of an electronic mail
        message that precedes the body of a message and contains,
        among other things, the message originator, date and time.

host number
        The part of an internet address that designates which
        node on the (sub)network is being addressed.

HP      Hewlett-Packard

I/O     Input/Output

IAB     Internet Architecture Board
        The technical body that oversees the development of the
        Internet suite of protocols.  It has two task forces: the IETF
        and the IRTF.

IBM     International Business Machines Corporation

ICMP    Internet Control Message Protocol
        ICMP is an extension to the Internet Protocol.  It allows
        for the generation of error messages,test packets and
        informational messages related to IP.  It is defined in STD 5,
        RFC 792.

IEEE    Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers

IETF    Internet Engineering Task Force
        The IETF is a large open community of network designers,
        operators, vendors, and researchers whose purpose is to
        coordinate the operation, management and evolution of
        the Internet, and to resolve short- and mid-range
        protocol and architectural issues.  It is a major source
        of proposed protocol standards which are submitted to the

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 36]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

        Internet Engineering Steering Group for final approval.  The
        IETF meets three times a year and extensive minutes of the
        plenary proceedings are issued.

        While an internet is a network, the term "internet" is usually
        used to refer to a collection of networks interconnected with

        The Internet (note the capital "I") is the largest internet in
        the world.  Is a three level hierarchy composed of backbone
        networks (e.g., NSFNET, MILNET), mid-level networks, and stub
        networks.  The Internet is a multiprotocol internet.

internet address
        The 32-bit address defined by the Internet Protocol
        in STD 5, RFC 791.  It is usually represented in dotted
        decimal notation.  An internet, or IP, address uniquely
        identifies a node on an internet.

IP      Internet Protocol
        The Internet Protocol, defined in STD 5, RFC 791, is the
        network layer for the TCP/IP Protocol Suite.  It is a
        connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol.

IRTF    Internet Research Task Force
        The IRTF is chartered by the IAB to consider long-term
        Internet issues from a theoretical point of view.  It has
        Research Groups, similar to IETF Working Groups, which are
        each tasked to discuss different research topics.  Multi-cast
        audio/video conferencing and privacy enhanced mail are samples
        of IRTF output.

ISO     International Organization for Standardization
        A voluntary, nontreaty organization founded in 1946 which is
        responsible for creating international standards in many
        areas, including computers and communications.  Its members
        are the national standards organizations of the 89 member
        countries, including ANSI for the U.S.

KB      Kilobyte
        A unit of data storage size which represents 10^3
        (one thousand) characters of information.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 37]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

Kb      Kilobit
        10^3 bits of information (usually used to express a
        data transfer rate; as in, 1 kilobit/second = 1Kbps = 1Kb).

LAN     Local Area Network
        A data network intended to serve an area of only a few square
        kilometers or less.  Because the network is known to cover
        only a small area, optimizations can be made in the network
        signal protocols that permit data rates up to 100Mb/s.

LISP    List Processing Language
        A high-level computer language invented by Professor John
        McCarthy in 1961 to support research into computer based
        logic, logical reasoning, and artificial intelligence.  It
        was the first symbolic (as opposed to numeric) computer
        processing language.

MAC     Medium Access Control
        The lower portion of the datalink layer.  The MAC differs for
        various physical media.

Mac     Apple Macintosh computer.

MAN     Metropolitan Area Network
        A data network intended to serve an area approximating that of
        a large city.  Such networks are being implemented by
        innovative techniques, such as running fiber cables through
        subway tunnels.  A popular example of a MAN is SMDS.

MB      Megabyte
        A unit of data storage size which represents
        10^6 (one million) characters of information.

Mb      Megabit
        10^6 bits of information (usually used to express a
        data transfer rate; as in, 1 megabit/second = 1Mbps).

MILNET  Military Network
        A network used for unclassified military production
        applications.  It is part of the DDN and the Internet.

MIT     Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MTTF    Mean Time to Failure
        The average time between hardware breakdown or loss of
        service.  This may be an empirical measurement or a
        calculation based on the MTTF of component parts.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 38]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

MTTR    Mean Time to Recovery (or Repair)
        The average time it takes to restore service after a
        breakdown or loss.  This is usually an empirical measurement.

MVS     Multiple Virtual Storage
        An IBM operating system based on OS/1.

NASA    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NBS     National Bureau of Standards
        Now called NIST.

network number
        The network portion of an IP address.  For a class A network,
        the network address is the first byte of the IP address.  For
        a class B network, the network address is the first two bytes
        of the IP address.  For a class C network, the network address
        is the first three bytes of the IP address.  In each case, the
        remainder is the host address.  In the Internet, assigned
        network addresses are globally unique.

NFS     Network File System
        A protocol developed by Sun Microsystems, and defined in RFC
        1094, which allows a computer system to access files over a
        network as if they were on its local disks.  This protocol has
        been incorporated in products by more than two hundred
        companies, and is now a de facto Internet standard.

NIC     Network Information Center
        A organization that provides information, assistance and
        services to network users.

NOC     Network Operations Center
        A location from which the operation of a network or internet
        is monitored.  Additionally, this center usually serves as a
        clearinghouse for connectivity problems and efforts to resolve
        those problems.

NIST    National Institute of Standards and Technology
        United States governmental body that provides assistance in
        developing standards.  Formerly the National Bureau of
        Standards (NBS).

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 39]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

NSF     National Science Foundation
        A U.S. government agency whose purpose is to promote the
        advancement of science.  NSF funds science researchers,
        scientific projects, and infrastructure to improve the quality
        of scientific research.  The NSFNET, funded by NSF, is an
        essential part of academic and research communications.

NSFNET  National Science Foundation Network
        The NSFNET is a highspeed "network of networks" which is
        hierarchical in nature.  At the highest level is a
        backbone network which spans the continental United
        States.  Attached to that are mid-level networks and
        attached to the mid-levels are campus and local
        networks.  NSFNET also has connections out of the U.S.
        to Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.  The
        NSFNET is part of the Internet.

NSFNET Mid-level Level Network
        A network connected to the highest level of the NSFNET that
        covers a region of the United States.  It is to mid-level
        networks that local sites connect.  The mid-level networks
        were once called "regionals".

OSI     Open Systems Interconnection
        A suite of protocols, designed by ISO committees, to be the
        international standard computer network architecture.

OSI Reference Model
        A seven-layer structure designed to describe computer network
        architectures and the way that data passes through them.  This
        model was developed by the ISO in 1978 to clearly define the
        interfaces in multivendor networks, and to provide users of
        those networks with conceptual guidelines in the construction
        of such networks.

OSPF    Open Shortest-Path First Interior Gateway Protocol
        A link state, as opposed to distance vector, routing protocol.
        It is an Internet standard IGP defined in RFC 1247.

packet  The unit of data sent across a network.  "Packet" a generic
        term used to describe unit of data at all levels of the
        protocol stack, but it is most correctly used to describe
        application data units.

PC      Personal Computer

PCNFS   Personal Computer Network File System

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 40]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

PPP     Point-to-Point Protocol
        The Point-to-Point Protocol, defined in RFC 1548, provides a
        method for transmitting packets over serial point-to-point

        A formal description of message formats and the rules
        two computers must follow to exchange those messages.
        Protocols can describe low-level details of
        machine-to-machine interfaces (e.g., the order in
        which bits and bytes are sent across a wire)
        or high-level exchanges between allocation
        programs (e.g., the way in which two programs
        transfer a file across the Internet).

RFC     The document series, begun in 1969, which describes the
        Internet suite of protocols and related experiments.  Not all
        (in fact very few) RFCs describe Internet standards, but all
        Internet standards are written up as RFCs.

RIP     Routing Information Protocol
        A distance vector, as opposed to link state, routing protocol.
        It is an Internet standard IGP defined in STD 34, RFC 1058
        (updated by RFC 1388).

RJE     Remote Job Entry
        The general protocol for submitting batch jobs and
        retrieving the results.

router  A device which forwards traffic between networks.  The
        forwarding decision is based on network layer information and
        routing tables, often constructed by routing protocols.

RPC     Remote Procedure Call
        An easy and popular paradigm for implementing the
        client-server model of distributed computing.  In general, a
        request is sent to a remote system to execute a designated
        procedure, using arguments supplied, and the result returned
        to the caller.  There are many variations and subtleties in
        various implementations, resulting in a variety of different
        (incompatible) RPC protocols.

server  A provider of resources (e.g., file servers and name servers).

SLIP    Serial Line Internet Protocol
        A protocol used to run IP over serial lines, such as telephone
        circuits or RS-232 cables, interconnecting two systems.  SLIP
        is defined in STD 47, RFC 1055.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 41]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

SMTP    Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
        A protocol, defined in STD 10, RFC 821, used to transfer
        electronic mail between computers.  It is a server to server
        protocol, so other protocols are used to access the messages.

SNA     Systems Network Architecture
        A proprietary networking architecture used by IBM and
        IBM-compatible mainframe computers.

SNMP    Simple Network Management Protocol
        The Internet standard protocol, defined in STD 15, RFC 1157,
        developed to manage nodes on an IP network.  It is currently
        possible to manage wiring hubs, toasters, jukeboxes, etc.

subnet  A portion of a network, which may be a physically independent
        network, which shares a network address with other portions
        of the network and is distinguished by a subnet number.  A
        subnet is to a network what a network is to an internet.

subnet number
        A part of the internet address which designates a subnet.
        It is ignored for the purposes internet routing, but is
        used for intranet routing.

T1      An AT&T term for a digital carrier facility used to transmit a
        DS-1 formatted digital signal at 1.544 megabits per second.

T3      A term for a digital carrier facility used to transmit a DS-3
        formatted digital signal at 44.746 megabits per second.

TCP     Transmission Control Protocol
        An Internet Standard transport layer protocol defined in STD
        7, RFC 793.  It is connection-oriented and stream-oriented, as
        opposed to UDP.

TCP/IP  Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
        This is a common shorthand which refers to the suite
        of application and transport protocols which run over IP.
        These include FTP, TELNET, SMTP, and UDP (a transport
        layer protocol).

Telenet A public packet switched network using the CCITT X.25 protocols.
        It should not be confused with Telnet.

TELNET  Telnet is the Internet standard protocol for remote terminal
        connection service.  It is defined in STD 8, RFC 854 and
        extended with options by many other RFCs.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 42]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

Token Ring
        A token ring is a type of LAN with nodes wired into a ring.
        Each node constantly passes a control message (token) on to
        the next; whichever node has the token can send a message.
        Often, "Token Ring" is used to refer to the IEEE 802.5 token
        ring standard, which is the most common type of token ring.

Tymnet  A public character-switching/packet-switching network
        operated by British Telecom.

UDP     User Datagram Protocol
        An Internet Standard transport layer protocol defined in STD
        6, RFC 768.  It is a connectionless protocol which adds a
        level of multiplexing to IP.

ULTRIX  UNIX-based operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation

UNIX    An operating system developed by Bell Laboratories that
        supports multiuser and multitasking operations.

UUCP    UNIX-to-UNIX Copy Program
        This was initially a program run under the UNIX operating
        system that allowed one UNIX system to send files to another
        UNIX system via dial-up phone lines.  Today, the term is more
        commonly used to describe the large international network
        which uses the UUCP protocol to pass news and electronic mail.

VMS     Virtual Memory System
        A Digital Equipment Corporation operating system.

WAN     Wide Area Network
        A network, usually constructed with serial lines, which covers a
        large geographic area.

WHOIS   An Internet program which allows users to query databases of
        people and other Internet entities, such as domains, networks,
        and hosts.  The information for people generally shows a
        person's company name, address, phone number and email

XNS     Xerox Network System
        A network developed by Xerox corporation.  Implementations
        exist for both 4.3BSD derived systems, as well as the Xerox
        Star computers.

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 43]

RFC 1594            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users          March 1994

X.25    A data communications interface specification developed to
        describe how data passes into and out of public data
        communications networks.  The CCITT and ISO approved protocol
        suite defines protocol layers 1 through 3.

14. Security Considerations

   Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

15. Authors' Addresses

   April N. Marine
   Network Applications and Information Center
   NASA Ames Research Center
   M/S 204-14
   Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

   Phone:  (415) 604-0762

   Joyce K. Reynolds
   USC/Information Sciences Institute
   4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 1001
   Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695

   Phone:  (310) 822-1511

   Gary Scott Malkin
   Xylogics, Inc.
   53 Third Avenue
   Burlington, MA  01803

   Phone:  (617) 272-8140
   EMail:  gmalkin@Xylogics.COM

User Services Working Group                                    [Page 44]