Hitchhikers guide to the Internet (RFC1118)
Original Publication Date: 1989-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-11
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
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.
Network Working Group E. Krol Request for Comments: 1118 University of Illinois Urbana September 1989
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).
Krol [Page 1]
RFC 1118 The Hitchhikers Guide to the Internet September 1989
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 provide much of the information services on the Internet. Information Sciences Institute (ISI) does much of the standardization and allocation wor...