Introduction to the Internet
SLAC 6 Sep 1994
This panel is under re-construction.
The Internet has become the primary computer network used at SLAC
for national and international communication. The Internet is a
collection of networks that presently use the
protocol suite and operate as one cooperative, virtual network.
It has recently grown rapidly across much of the world and is presently
found in over forty countries. Interesting Internet networks
The Internet has gateways to other, non-TCP/IP networks like
Each Internet network establishes its own usage rules and
Network Operations Center (NOC). Internet hosts may be in
universities, research labs, schools, commercial organizations,
military installations, individual's homes, etc. Policy and
standards (called RFCs),
for the connected Internet and the TCP/IP protocol suite are set
by the IAB.
The Internet is descended from the
which operated from
Today, even much BITNET traffic flows over the Internet
(via protocol layering).
In addition to connectivity, the Internet provides a number of
applications like e-mail
all based on the unreliable packet and
reliable full-duplex stream delivery capabilities of the network.
Over the years, not only has a rich set of applications
evolved (many through volunteer labor), but also etiquette for
using them. Permeating the Internet is a sense of ethics that
honors individualism, accepts the network as good, and assumes the
importance of protecting it. By now a humongous amount of
information on almost any subject you can name is available in
Given the complexity of the environment, reading a book is a good
way to begin. Popular ones include:
Krol, Ed, 1992. The Whole Internet: User's Guide and Catalog
(O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., Sebastopol, CA).
SLAC Library has. More comprehensive than most; still easy to follow.
The publisher has put some parts online in their
Global Network Navigator:
What Is the Internet?" and
"The Whole Internet Catalog".
See also the GNN
But note unusual
LaQuey, Tracey, 1993.
Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking
SLAC Library has.
An easy way to get started.
Other information resources to look at early, where the phrase on
the left is a name by which the file is known, include:
- A map of the international connectivity provided today by
common computer networks, with additional
specifics by country.
- Success stories submitted to FARNET for a forthcoming
book, "51 Reasons: How We Use the Internet and What It Says about
the Information Superhighway."
(FARNET is the Federation of American Research Networks.)
- Introduction to Internet electronic addresses and domain names.
- Statement of policy on the proper use of Internet resources.
Here are a few useful information sources on the network,
extracted from an endless list.
The phrase on the left is a name the information is known by.
including annotated bibliography on Internet books for
various interests in Section D., "Networking and Communications."
- The hypertext form of a FAQ called the Internet Services List
that treats Internet connections to
diverse resources from Agricultural Information to WorldWideWeb.
See also the related
newsgroup with the definitive set of
Covers diverse subjects.
A good place to start is
See also the FAQs for new Netnews users,
- X.500 Directory Service ("white pages"), an ISO/CCITT international
standard. Obtained through a WWW gateway.
- The original
client/server at the University of Minnesota,
for browsing through menus of resources at hundreds of Internet sites.
- A Gopher-based
service that provides keyword searches of a database of
(most) all the Gopher menus on the Internet.
- A list of hypertext
servers around the world, which are accessible to WWW.
Unlike other Archie servers,
ones return hypertext links to the located files.
can be found through Archie.
- The experimental Wide Area Information System, through which you can
perform textual searches of one or more WAIS indices anywhere on the
network and retrieval of the documents or other material found. (See the
- A list of network information sources classified by type of service
like X.500, Gopher, Archie, or WAIS.
- List based on the ISO 3166 standard for country names and their
codes, e.g., CH for Switzerland and CN for China.
- Acceptable usage policy for NSFNET backbone services.
- Information, Directory and Data Base, and
Registration Services provided and/or coordinated
by the InterNIC to the Internet community.
To find information available on the Internet, see the
Or check out the weekly
on new resource announcements and other news.
- Description of the DOE's ESnet, its activities, and other
information of interest to energy researchers.
- Description of BARRNet plus related information and data files.
- Internet RFCs
- The documents that define the Internet, with some overview ones
highlighted. (See ESnet for the
- Internet Society
- Description of the Internet Society (ISOC), the international
group for global cooperation and coordination
that ultimately works out where the Internet is going through
committees like the
and its subcommittees,
the IETF and
for more information, or
join the society.
- Resource Guides
- The University of Michigan's Clearinghouse of Subject-Oriented Internet Resource Guides.
- Ohio State's list of "Miscellaneous Information Sources" on the
- Domain Survey
- Network Wizards'
survey of Internet domain names with
links to statistics from other organizations.
Some useful commands follow (ones without hypertext links await
installation of a local man page server):
Detailed information on these commands is usually available on
your host. Enter the appropriate help command, e.g.,
"man <command_name>" on UNIX or "HELP <command_name>" on VM,
where you replace <command_name> with the name of the command
you're interested in.
- invokes an interactive, screen-oriented mail system for doing
tasks like reading, writing, and filing mail. UNIX(TM) only.
- displays identifying information about one or more users.
- transfers files between a local and remote host that may have
dissimilar file systems. Uses the relatively rich FTP protocol.
- shows network status.
- queries Internet domain name servers interactively or not.
- requests echo from foreign host to check the status of the
- supports login from a local to a remote host.
- transfers files between a local and remote host that may have
dissimilar files systems. Uses the minimal TFTP protocol.
- reads Netnews newgroups efficiently and in a "threaded" order
(interconnected in reply order). Linemode. UNIX only.
- invokes the WorldWideWeb
(WWW) hypertext system to find and access Internet resources.
- searches a user name directory for identifying information about
- provides an X Window System interface for reading Netnews
newsgroups. UNIX only.
Other Sources of Information
You may also find reference documents about the Internet and
various other international networks and their usage on the
Consulting Reference Shelf in the Lobby of the Computation Group
Building (CGB) and, of course, in the SLAC Library. Here's a taste
of its holdings on the
Sooner or later, though, the best way to learn about the
Internet is to explore it.