proposed USENET backbone

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Mar 22, 1983, 2:18:54 AM3/22/83
Well, I've talked with a number of people and put together a
first crack at a new USENET backbone. (For those of you who
just came in, the old backbone will fall apart in May when
harpo becomes a leaf. Harpo did a great job keeping Bell Labs
talking to the rest of the world for a long time, and we'll
miss them. But things change and an edict has been made that
the participants had no control over.) Here is the proposed backbone:

ubc-vision---alberta---sask . . . . . . . . . . . . utzoo
| |
uw-beaver |
| |
| / \
| / philabs---mcvax
zehntel-------------------------ihnp4---------spanky | |
| | | |
| mhb5b | |
hplabs | | |
| \ | | |
| \ duke | |
| \ \ | |
| -----------------hao----------------------seismo |
sdcrdcf |
| |

I have talked to most, but not all, of the sites mentioned here.
If your site is on the backbone and you don't want it there, or
if you would like to be on the backbone and are not mentioned,
or if some link shown for you is impossible, please drop me a line,
or call me at (614) 860-4276.

The cross country link in Canada is mostly wishful thinking on
my part. The dotted entry does not exist, primarily for reasons
of phone costs.

Briefly, the purpose of the backbone is to have a set of highly
reliable, highly responsible sites that the rest of the net can
depend on. We emphasize reliability - every attempt is made to
get every article to every backbone site. These sites have at
least two links, and often three. A few sites have four for
various reasons, but an attempt is made to keep the fan-out small.
News 2.10 provides the ability for a site to feed only locally
generated news to a given site, so every site will be encouraged
to send their locally posted news directly to some backbone site
with which they have a good two-way connection, if possible.
(For example, you may see this note via ..!ucbvax!cbosgd!mark,
even though ucbvax and cbosgd do not have a news connection,
cbosgd sends ucbvax news generated on cbosgd.)

An attempt is also made to balance the network geographically.
Each backbone site represents a significant USENET geographic
cluster or area. A backbone site assumes some degree of
responsibility for that geographic area: new sites can be referred
to them for a connection (or a referral in their area - nobody
expects one site to feed an entire area directly); backbone sites
should try to organize their area to keep their load down and
path lengths short. Also, backbone sites should not do much
censoring of news - remember, if you only get half the newsgroups,
nobody downstream can get the ones you don't get. Only things
that are a menace to the network (remember net.jokes.q?) should
be refused by a backbone site, if at all possible. Finally,
backbone sites should try to run current versions of news software,
and have a responsive contact person. If a logjam occurs, or if
an emergency happens (e.g. someone polluting the network) quick
response is important to keep the network running smoothly.

The time frame for this change is April. The change should be
complete by the end of April, 1983. This means that the links
shown above (as modified by upcoming discussion) should be in
place by then. While some existing backbone links would be
torn down, if any site wants to maintain additional links, of
course they are free to do so. Please send me comments and I
will summarize and adapt.

Mark Horton

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