How to Get Information about Networks

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Mark Moraes

Dec 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM12/28/99
Archive-name: internet/network-info/part1
Last-change: 8 Oct 1996 by (Mark Moraes)
Changes-posted-to: news.admin.misc,news.misc,news.answers


Subject: Introduction.

This is a periodic posting on how to get information about the Internet and
how to get information about connecting to the (US) National Science
Foundation's NSFNET through an NSF-affiliated regional network, or to get
commercial Internet service through a commercial service provider.

Because the contents of the documents referred to in this posting are
constantly being updated, this posting only describes how to obtain a
current copy rather than providing the data directly.

In this document, electronic mail addresses, commands that you should use
and other such references are indented by a single TAB character
(may appear on your screen as some number of spaces, typically 8)
When you use the reference, do not include the TAB.


Subject: Table of Contents.

1. Introduction.
2. Table of Contents.
3. The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC).
4. Internet documents and specifications.
5. Commercial networks.
6. Contributors.


Subject: The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC).

The Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC) makes current
documentation on the NSFNET available via a mail server, by anonymous ftp,
gopher, WAIS and the World-Wide Web. If all else fails, you can contact
them by phone. The InterNIC has a wealth of documents on the Internet; by
the time you finish reading the introductory ones, you probably won't need
this posting any more!

+ Getting information via electronic mail. (some sort of E-mail access needed)

If you're on some sort of network that can send and receive electronic
mail from the Internet, you can get various documents from the InterNIC's
automated mail server. Send mail to

and leave the "Subject" line blank. Here's a suggested initial message:


Be sure your mailer puts out a valid "From:" line that the server can
respond to! Ask your site's postmaster for help, if you need to.

+ Using Gopher (Internet access needed)

Use your "gopher" client program to connect to

eg. on a typical Unix machine, try

or, if you do not have a gopher client installed, you can use a
"telnet" client program to connect to


When you get the login: prompt, reply


+ Using the anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) (Internet access needed)

Use your FTP client program to connect to


When you get the login: prompt, reply


and follow the instructions on your screen.

+ Using Wide Area Information Services (WAIS) (Internet access needed)

source name: internic-infoguide
server name:

+ World-Wide Web (WWW) (Internet access needed)

With your WWW client (eg. Lynx, Mosaic or WWW), give the reference


Subject: Internet documents and specifications.

General Internet information documents are available from the
DDN Network Information Center (which is part of the Internet).
There are several "For Your Information (FYI)" documents
published as part of the Internet "Request For Comments (RFC)"
series of documents. These can be helpful in getting a better
understanding of the Internet and its services and organization.
Experienced, novice, and would-be Internet users can all benefit
from reading these documents.

Included among these are:

RFC-1594 FYI on Questions and Answers - Answers to Commonly asked "New
Internet User" Questions
RFC-1463 FYI on Introducing the Internet-- A Short Bibliography of
Introductory Internetworking Readings or the Network Novice
RFC-1462 FYI-20: "What is the Internet"
RFC-1208 Glossary of Networking Terms
RFC-1207 FYI: Answers to commonly asked "experienced Internet user" questions
RFC-1178 Choosing a Name for your Computer
RFC-1175 FYI on where to start: A bibliography of internetworking information
RFC-1150 FYI on FYI: Introduction to the FYI notes

To learn how to retrieve RFCs, get the following document by anonymous
ftp from


You can also get the information by sending electronic mail to

with the body of the message:

help: ways_to_get_rfcs


Subject: Commercial networks.

The Internet is composed of many networks, not just those sponsored or
affiliated with the US Government. There are also commercial Internet
service providers. Commercial firms that might not meet requirements for
connecting to a US Government-related network can still connect to the
TCP/IP Internet via commercial service providers not affiliated with the
NSFNET or the DDN Internet.

For a list of dialup Internet service providers, send email to with the single line query:

For a list of Internet service providers that offer Integrated
Services Digital Network (ISDN) high-speed dialup access
at 64kbps or higher, try

For a list of Internet (and UUCP) service providers, see the frequent
posting "How to Become a Usenet Site" in the news.admin.misc,
news.announce.newusers and news.answers newsgroups. (Archive-name:
usenet/site-setup) You can also get this document by anonymous ftp from, or by sending mail to with the
single line request:
send usenet-by-group/news.announce.newusers/How_to_become_a_Usenet_site

O'Reilly and Associates has a mail server that provides a list
of Internet Access providers who offer dedicated line connections.
Send e-mail to:
with an empty message body. If you have problems getting the
information from dlist, send email to

If you have access to the WWW, you can get more info on
network providers in different countries from the rather
large list of all registered WWW servers at:


Subject: Contributors

This is a list of people who have made contributions to this document.

The first version of this document was written by Randall Atkinson

It was enhanced & edited until 5/93 by (Gene Spafford).

It was rewritten in Mar 94 by Mark Moraes <>, also the
current maintainer.

Thanks to the following for their contributions:

Ed Vielmetti <>
Denis Lafont <>
Mary Jane Caswell-Stephenson <>
Daniel R. Kegel <>


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