Intermail and Commercial Mail Relay services (RFC1168)
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-11
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
A. Westine: AUTHOR [+3]
This RFC discusses the history and evolution of the Intermail and Commercial mail systems. The problems encountered in operating a store-and-forward mail relay between commercial systems such as Telemail, MCI Mail and Dialcom are also discussed. This RFC provides information for the Internet community, and does not specify any standard.
Network Working Group A. Westine Request for Comments: 1168 A. DeSchon J. Postel C.E. Ward USC/ISI July 1990
INTERMAIL AND COMMERCIAL MAIL RELAY SERVICES
STATUS OF THIS MEMO
This RFC discusses the history and evolution of the Intermail and Commercial mail systems. The problems encountered in operating a store-and-forward mail relay between commercial systems such as Telemail, MCI Mail and Dialcom are also discussed. This RFC provides information for the Internet community, and does not specify any standard. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
The evolution of large electronic mail systems testifies to the increasing importance of electronic mail as a means of communication and coordination throughout the scientific research community.
This paper is a summary of the development of, and a status report on, an experiment in protocol interoperation between mail systems of different design. USC/Information Sciences Institute (ISI) began work on this experiment in 1981 and over the years has provided an evolving demonstration service for users to exchange mail between the Internet and a few commercial mail systems.
Recently other organizations have begun to provide similar services, demonstrating the ongoing need for interoperation of the Internet and the commercial mail systems. We believe that ISI’s pioneering work in this area has promoted this expansion of service.
These systems include the Internet mail system, the US Sprint Telemail system, the MCI Mail system, and the Dialcom systems. All of the systems were designed to operate autonomously, with no convenient mechanism to allow users of one system to send electronic mail to users on another system.
The Intermail and Commercial Mail Relay (CMR) services described in this paper were developed to provide a means for sending mail between the Internet and these commercial mail systems.
Westine, DeSchon, Postel & Ward [Page 1]
RFC 1168 Intermail and Commercial Mail Relay Services July 1990
The Internet is an interconnected system of networks using the SMTP mail protocol, which includes the ARPANET, MILNET, NSFNET, and about 700 other networks; mail relays allow the exchange of mail with BITNET, CSNET, and the UUCP networks as well. To the users, this Internet looks like one large mail system with at least 100,000 computers and at least 400,000 users. Figure 1 illustrates the path of a message sent by a user on one Internet host to a user on another Internet host. For more details on the Internet and connected networks (see Appendix A).
As commercial mail systems came into popular use, it became clear that a mail link between the Internet and the commercial mail systems was necessary (see Appendix B). More and more commercial and research entities needed to communicate with the Internet research community, and many of these organizations (for one reason or another) were inappropriate candidates for Internet sites. The Intermail and CMR services allow these groups to communicate wi...