Network Working Group NIC 5739 Request for Comments: 96 Richard W. Watson Category: Informational SRI-ARC 12 February 1971 An Interactive Network Experiment to Study Modes of Access the Network Information Center 1. Introduction
The question to which the experiment, to be described below,
There are three basic approaches to allowing remote sites to connect to the NIC through the network, which we can call User Program Telnet, NLS(T) Front End, Monitor Telnet. Each of these is discussed below. Each approach requires code which will run in the remote host.
We assume that standard conventions for Telnet programs will be specified by the Network Working Group. In the companion paper (NWG/RFC 97), NIC (5740,)) we include recommended conventions on solving those problems which we are aware exists relative to initial NIC access, although we have tried to specify conventions useful more generally. The NLS(T) Front End Program would interface to the Telnet Program.
We assume that no matter which approach is taken, the software at the ARC end use the information obtained during the connection process to log-in the remote terminal under a general account and will place the terminal user in the NIC version of NLS, which we will call NLS(NIC) for short. The NLS(NIC) will ask the terminal user for his initials. The remote user then has access to all NIC facilities.
The initial typewriter oriented system accepts commands of the general form:
<command words> <operand> <delimiter> ... <operand> <delimiter>
The <command words> is usually two words, the first to indicate a general operation class, and the second to indicate a general data structure type to be operated on. The <operand>s specify specific data entities to be operated upon, or instructions to adjust NLS parameters.
To gain connection to the NIC we assume that the user logs into his local system and calls up a subsystem or cusp. This subsystem or system program, Telnet program will be used to access other sites as well. The remote terminal and its controlling software system can operate in three basic modes as seen by the host subsystems
Case 1 - Character at a time half duplex
Case 2 - Character at a time full duplex
Case 3 - Line at a time half duplex
Although line at a time is full duplex is a logical possibility, no such approach is in general use and we ignore it in the following discussion.
In the discussions to follow, in Section 2b, 2c and 2d, we describe
the modes of access which we would like to investigate
experimentally. We want to study user reaction with 10 char/sec, 15 char/sec, and 30 char/sec devices.
2b. User Program Telnet
Consider the above classes of terminal in turn and the ways the
Telnet program might handle communications between them and the NIC.
The Telnet program might allow both full and half duplex
communication as specified by the user.
2b1. Case 1 - Character at a Time Full Duplex
The simplest approach would be for the Telnet program to take each character received from the terminal (except a special character or character sequence needed to escape back to the terminals host system), convert the code to ASCII and transmit it as a message to NLS(NIC). NLS(NIC) would handle all character echoing and transmit echo messages back to the Telnet for actual transmission to the terminal in the appropriate terminal code. This mode of communication involves full duplex transmission user to user and is probably the severest test of the interactive characteristics of the host-network-host system.
2b2. Case 2 - Character at a Time Half Duplex
There are two subcases which we treat identically:
i) The Telnet program sees a half duplex terminal.
ii) The Telnet program sees a full duplex terminal, but provides echoing so as to make the terminal half duplex as seen by NIC.
With the character at a time half duplex case the NIC program will operate in two modes:
a) short mode
b) long mode
In short mode the user will type in the command and receive on his terminal only the characters echoed by his system and the NIC response to the command.
In long mode. the user will receive feedback from NIC at an appropriate point in the command. We want to see how novice and experienced users feel about working in these two modes, given the delays in the system response.
2b3. Case 3 - Line at a Time Half Duplex
From the point of ciew of the NIC this case is essentially the same as Case 2. From the point of ciew of the network this case is a more efficient use fo the network as the messages are longer. This case is also more efficient for the user host system as it will require fewer calls to the Telnet subsystem; response for Case 3 may be better than Case 2.
In this mode of communication, the subsystem which handles communication with the NIC is to perform some of the interactive and other tasks now performed by NLS(T). The type of tasks to be performed are echoing of the characters typed and the additional feedback characters for the full spell out of the command words, parsing of the command string, error handling where appropriate, and the sending of a parsed string as a message to NLS(T). If it should turn out that this mode of communication is the one preferred by sites, we would expect to supply an example version of the Front End program written in some language to serve as a model for implementation. The Network Working Group may want to give further study to a standard language for specifying such programs as indicated in NWG/RFC 51, NIC (4752,).
2d. Monitor Telnet
Much of the response delay in the experiments of Section 2b is expected to result from the fact that the Telnet described there is a user program. We will run the experiments of Section 2b with the appropriate Telnet routines resident as a part of the user host monitor.
[ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ] [ into the online RFC archives by Henrik Johansson 4/97 ]