Hitchhikers guide to the Internet (RFC1118)
Original Publication Date: 1989-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
Status of this Memo
Network Working Group E. Krol
Request for Comments: 1118 University of Illinois Urbana
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Internet
Status of this Memo
This RFC is being distributed to members of the Internet community in
order to make available some "hints" which will allow new network
participants to understand how the direction of the Internet is set,
how to acquire online information and how to be a good Internet
neighbor. While the information discussed may not be relevant to the
research problems of the Internet, it may be interesting to a number
of researchers and implementors. No standards are defined or
specified in this memo. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
The hitchhikers guide to the Internet is a very unevenly edited memo
and contains many passages which simply seemed to its editors like a
good idea at the time. It is an indispensable companion to all those
who are keen to make sense of life in an infinitely complex and
confusing Internet, for although it cannot hope to be useful or
informative on all matters, it does make the reassuring claim that
where it is inaccurate, it is at least definitively inaccurate. In
cases of major discrepancy it is always reality that's got it wrong.
And remember, DON'T PANIC. (Apologies to Douglas Adams.)
Purpose and Audience
This document assumes that one is familiar with the workings of a
non-connected simple IP network (e.g., a few 4.3 BSD systems on an
Ethernet not connected to anywhere else). Appendix A contains
remedial information to get one to this point. Its purpose is to get
that person, familiar with a simple net, versed in the "oral
tradition" of the Internet to the point that that net can be
connected to the Internet with little danger to either. It is not a
tutorial, it consists of pointers to other places, literature, and
hints which are not normally documented. Since the Internet is a
dynamic environment, changes to this document will be made regularly.
The author welcomes comments and suggestions. This is especially
true of terms for the glossary (definitions are not necessary).
What is the Internet?
In the beginning there was the ARPANET, a wide area experimental
network connecting hosts and terminal servers together. Procedures
were set up to regulate the allocation of addresses and to create
voluntary standards for the network. As local area networks became
more pervasive, many hosts became gateways to local networks. A
network layer to allow the interoperation of these networks was
developed and called Internet Protocol (IP). Over time other groups
created long haul IP based networks (NASA, NSF, states...). These
nets, too, interoperate because of IP. The collection of all of
these interoperating networks is the Internet.
A few groups pr...