3G: as opposed to 2G. Third generation digital mobile cellular network, geared for high-speed throughout and multimedia applications.
Acoustic modem: device for connecting computers before the invention of the electronic modem. Acoustically coupled modems were fitted over the phone handset to send and receive data streams that could be understood by computers.
ADSL (asynchronous digital subscriber line): enhances computer communications over twisted-pair telephone lines where the download path is much greater than the maximum upload. For example Telecom’s network in 2007 is capable of at least 7Mbit/sec download and 512kbit/sec or greater upload speeds. Most users are however only getting 2–3Mbit/sec download speeds.
ADSL2+: ITU standard that has the potential to deliver speeds of up to 24Mbit/sec downstream and 3.5Mbit/sec upstream. It is operational in many countries and equipment to enable this enhancement was being installed by Telecom during 2007–2008.
Ajax: a Web 2:0 development technique for creating interactivity or making Web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes. This increases to increase speed and functionality so the page doesn’t have to be reloaded each time the user requests a change.
ARPA: see DARPA.
Archie: derived from the term archive. A search utility for locating files on FTP sites.
ARPANET: the world’s first operational packet-switching network. The developments made in the research laboratories of the US Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) delivered what was the predecessor of the Internet. It became the more research- and academic-focused NSFnet (National Science Foundation network) that linked computer science departments, providing open access to supercomputers.
ATM (asynchronous transfer mode): a cell relay or circuit switching network protocol which encodes traffic into fixed cell sizes or frames rather than packets over fibre-optic cable. It was widely used for wide area networking (WAN) and many carriers used it in their network backbones but the increasingly converged nature of modern backbone networks saw it rapidly replaced by more efficient networking protocols. Also stands for automatic teller machine.
Backbone: the main trunk high-speed fibre network across the nation feeding exchanges, routers and hubs that connect into or distribute data to individual networks or ISPs.
Backhaul: the backbone network infrastructure, typically fibre-optic cable and the related electronics that deliver capacity for Internet and phone traffic from the provider’s exchange into and out of our towns and cities. The backhaul may be from Telecom or TelstraClear to an ISP or wholesale customer. Without sufficient backhaul to meet the demands of local users a bottleneck arises, slowing network performance. Backhaul may also be cellular, wireless bandwidth.
Bandwidth: transmission capacity or data throughout capability. The greater the bandwidth, the more capacity there is for carrying voice, video or data. The number of bits flowing through the telecommunications lines are usually measured in kilobit, megabits, or gigabits per second (Mbit/sec).
Baud: the speed at which a computer modem transfers data. While technically speaking it’s not identical to bits per second, the speed is close enough so this book has used bit/sec and kbit/sec for modem speeds.
BBS (bulletin board system): a precursor to the Internet, where users dialled in to a remote servers, often in someone’s home or garage, to exchange or post messages or participate in public forums. After about 1986 BBS often included UUCP or FTP Internet content and email access. BBS, like today’s social networking sites, were often based around communities of interest and offered downloadable material, discussion groups and the ability to chat or play games on-line.
BGP (border gateway protocol): used mostly by ISPs to share information about different networks. BGP itself is a complex exterior routing protocol that is used in conjunction with autonomous systems.
Bitnet: it came to mean ‘Because It’s Time Network,’ although the original meaning was ‘Because It’s There Network.’ It started out as a small network for IBM computers in 1981. It was used by Waikato University to gain access to on-line resources before it achieved full interconnection into the US Internet backbone. In October 1994, Bitnet encompassed 1,481 host computers by academic and research institutions all over the world. It had around 111,000 users in 1995. It spanned North America, Europe and some Persian Gulf states but as TCP/IP systems reached maturity and the Internet went mainstream its popularity rapidly diminished.
Blog: short for Weblog. A regularly updated on-line diary or chronological series of reports report on any topic. Some bloggers comment on current affairs or news of the days while others are content to talk about their hobbies or interests. Most blogs have room for readers to agree, disagree or add their own views. Part of the blogosphere or connected blogs.
Browser: graphical user interface or Web browser for searching and navigating Internet hosted Web pages. A standard part of a computer operating system. They’re becoming increasingly sophisticated and will ultimately become highly personalised. The first browser that shifted the game away from text navigation was Mosaic, developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) from late 1992 by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina. Andreessen, along with Jim Clark, a founder of Silicon Graphics and four other former students and staff of the University of Illinois, started Mosaic Communications. It later became Netscape Communications, which produced Netscape Navigator. While the original Microsoft Internet Explorer featured elements of Mosaic, after a dispute over licensing all elements were removed and Microsoft went its own way.
BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution): formerly known as the Berkeley version of Unix, now simply called the BSD operating system. This Unix variant and its utilities, developed and distributed by the University of California at Berkeley, delivered the first TCP/IPNetworking stack that extended the Internet revolution beyond the military and academic circles. It usually included the version number; for example, 4.3 BSD. The BSD TCP/IP stack was the model for most subsequent TCP/IP implementations. Development is continued by three groups of ‘user communities’: FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD. Cabinetisation: the process of moving smaller cabinets containing the electronics required for local loop access, including DSL and fibre-optics, closer to the customer. While shortening the copper loop and speeding up the capabilities of the network this also means each cabinet serves fewer customers.
CERN (Centre for Particle and Nuclear Physics): the world’s largest particle physics laboratory located in Geneva, Switzerland. A circular, very high-energy particle accelerator that accelerates protons through the action of magnetic fields and a high-frequency electric field
CDMA (code division multiple access): a radio spectrum sharing technique used in digital mobile networks, including Telecom’s 027 network.
Coloured Book: a set of complex X.25 protocols, denoted by colour, used on Janet (joint academic network) and other emerging networks between 1980 and 1992 until Internet (TCP/IP) protocols overtook them. Pink was for communication over Ethernet, Orange over local networks, Yellow over X.25, Green to connect terminals, Fawn for screen management, Blue for file transfer, Grey for email and Red for job transfer and management.
Cyberspace: a term coined by science fiction writer William Gibson in the 1980s, referring to a futuristic network where users mentally travelled through a matrix of data. Now used generally to refer to the Internet, which hadn’t been invented at the time of his vivid imaginings.
Daemon: not a horned creature from the netherworld but a background process in the Unix operating system that lies dormant waiting to perform some useful task. The sendmail daemon, for example, continually runs but becomes active only when email is sent or received.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency): an agency of the US Department of Defence responsible for the development of new military technology, including funding the research that led to the overall structure and specifications for computer networking and ultimately the Internet, including hypertext linking. Established in 1958 in response to the launch of the Soviet satellite, tasked with helping the USA military technology keep ahead of its enemies. It was originally known as Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), but renamed DARPA in 1972 then back to ARPA a decade later and to DARPA again in 1996.
Data caps: the restriction on the amount of data subscribers can download (or upload) each month. This can vary from 600Mb to 1Gb as a standard offering but on higher end accounts through some ISPs it is now 10Gb and more. If you exceed your data cap you are charged a per Mb fee and/or the speed of access is drastically reduced.
DEC PDP (Programmed Data Processor): a series of highly successful computers made by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).
Delurk: here’s lurking at you. To come out of on-line lurking mode to participate in a discussion after a period of merely observing. Derived from episodes of Star Trek that feature Klingon warships that can hide ‘cloak’ or ‘decloak’ at will.
Digital: as opposed to analogue, linear or sequential. Digital reduces everything to a series of zeroes and ones, or on and off switches as an electronic representation of its source material whether it is text, photographs, sound or video. Computers code and decode endless streams of zeroes and ones as they process our files.
Download speed: speed at which Internet users download data. Until 2005 this was restricted to 128kbit/sec, 256kbit/sec or 512kbit/sec in New Zealand unless you were a customer of Telecom or of a provider that had its own infrastructure. The speed was bumped up to 2Mbit/sec and a determination struck in December 2005 meant speeds of 3.5Mbit/sec became available to all ISPs. Local loop unbundling was expected to boost download speeds to 7Mbit/sec in the short term and with DSL2+ technology on the horizon carriers were proposing 8–24Mbit/sec services. The reality, because of the condition of the nation’s copper infrastructure and the ancient NEC switches still being used, was likely to remain at 2–3Mbit/sec unless users were close to a roadside cabinet or exchange or lived in a new subdivision. The big hope was Telecom’s NGN, due to be completed 2010.
DSLAM (digital subscriber line access multiplexer): a network device, usually at a telephone exchange or roadside cabinet, that separates the voice-frequency signals from the high-speed data traffic and controls and routes digital subscriber line (xDSL) traffic between the customer and the main carrier network. Cards used in exchanges, and increasingly in roadside cabinets to terminate DSL data circuits over copper telephone lines into a carrier’s network. A number of customers can be supported on a single DSLAM although ADSL DSLAMs are now rapidly being replaced by DSL2+ ISLAMs which are smaller, deliver faster Internet access speeds and are more suited for roadside cabinets. With unbundling Telecom’s competitors are able to locate their own DSLAMs in its exchanges and roadside cabinets.
DWDM (dense wave division multiplexing): technology that can send eight or more wavelengths down a single fibre-optic cable.
E1: 2Mbit/sec. European equivalent of a US-designated T1 circuit (est 1.5Mbit/sec) over a telephone network that can handle multiple connections simultaneously.
E3: 34Mbit/sec. European equivalent of a US-designated T3 circuit.
EBGP: the opposite to IBGP. It transports information to other BGP-enabled systems. However, EBGP is generally not used within the same AS. In rare cases, EBGP can be used in place of interior protocols (IGRP, RIP, etc.) through the specification of static routes.
EDI (electronic data interchange): the precursor to e-commerce, featuring rigid proprietary protocols for companies to securely exchange important documents including orders, invoices and payments within their dedicated trading communities.
Email (electronic mail): still the ‘killer app’ on the Internet and the most immediately useful tool. The email ‘send and receive’ service offered by your ISP, which acts as a post office service, routing your messages to their destination as part of your monthly fee. In many cases email is offered as a free service by major operators keen to have you add credibility to their on-line community.
Ethernet: a network topology and protocol invented by Robert Metcalfe at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s, initially used in local area networks (LANs) but now deployed in the wide area as well. Initial speeds were 10Mbit/sec but now 100Base-T (100Mbit/sec) is common over coaxial cable and 1000Base-T (1Gbit/sec) is used over more capable networks. Telecom is increasingly using Fast Ethernet in all its new DSL cabinets to speed up the capabilities of shorter copper lengths as fibre gets closer to the home.
FAQ (frequently asked questions): many more complex sites with large databases, offering downloads, on-line services, e-commerce and even social networking ask you to read up on basic instructions and rules governing use before clogging their helpdesk with questions that are already answered in the FAQ.
Fibre-optics: glass fibre communications cabling down which laser pulses transmit information at light speed. Fibre has been around since the ’80s but is now much cheaper to deploy than copper and far more capable – able to deliver gigabit speeds.
FidoNet: founded as a non-commercial network in 1984 by Tom Jennings of San Francisco, California as a means of networking bulletin board systems (BBS) that used his own Fido BBS software. Other BBS software over time was adapted to support his FidoNet protocols and it network became a popular means for hobbyist computer users to communicate. FidoNet has designated coordinators at each level to manage the administration of nodes and resolve disputes.
Finger: a Unix utility that reports information about other users who have Unix accounts. Finger can tell you about users logged in and where and when a person last logged in to the system. A gesture by a programmer to a person they believe has ripped off their code without acknowledgement.
Firewall: based on the idea of having a firewall to stop a fire spreading. Software, hardware and the procedures put in place to segregate or protect one portion of a network from another, or the security protocols between the network and the Internet or outside world to stop unauthorised persons from accessing your LAN or your databases. A firewall may include a router or access server designed as a buffer or secure layer between public and private networks. A good firewall will include security, antivirus, anti-spam and anti-intrusion software, which examines all incoming and outgoing messages for viruses and spam and blocks all suspicious files.
Flame: an angry or often inflammatory response to a posting on a newsgroup; an offensive or insulting email following a breach of netiquette. A few retaliatory reactive responses based on a misunderstanding or volleys between groups on different sides of an argument – particularly in the bad old days – could result in a flame war that completely disregarded any pretensions at net etiquette.
Frame relay: a packet-switched data service, similar to X.25 used for LAN-to-LAN connections and out to metropolitan area networks (MANs) and wide area networks (WANs), well suited to bursty traffic. Speeds vary from 64kbit/sec circuits up to 45Mbit/sec speeds. It was superceded in some cases by ATM. Frame relay could be used for creating permanent virtual circuits and is an always-on technology. It mostly fell out of use with the advent of IP-based networking. It was used in the early days of the Internet for satellite and point-to-point connections between universities as part of the national Internet backbone in New Zealand.
Freenet: in 1984, the ‘father’ of the Freenet movement, Tom Grunder, created St Silicon’s Hospital and Dispensary, a medical bulletin board system and interactive messaging system that allowed users to ask a qualified doctor medical questions. This became the Cleveland Freenet, which grew to embrace more than 150 affiliated systems in the medical and other communities. WCC IT manager Richard Naylor tweaked the model to provide a free dial-up service for ratepayers to access what was essentially public information and CityNet was born, making the council the second local authority outside of the US to offer such a service.
FTTH (fibre-to-the-home): taking fibre the next step from fibre to the cabinet or node directly into business and residential premises for high-speed broadband.
FTTN (fibre to the node): the same as fibre to the curb. The process of cabinetisation or shortening the local loop through taking the functionality of a larger exchange out closer to the customer with fibre links out to smaller cabinets where access equipment such as DSLAMs are located.
FTP (file transfer protocol): used to identify, access and move software, music, image or text files from one host to another with appropriate file conversion across a large range of hosts. Gateway: telecommunication switch that provides international access. Internet and voice telephony gateways are usually separated. Device used to connect or translate otherwise incompatible protocols from one network to another network or networks. This may include linking a local area network to a wide area corporate or campus network or a global network.
Gopher: originally introduced in 1991 at the University of Minnesota and named after the school’s mascot. A program that searches for file names and resources on the Internet and presents results in hierarchical menus pointing users to different Gopher servers where the content they seek may be found. Gopher was very similar to the Web except it had a structured tree menu system rather than hyperlinks to find what you were looking for. Where links have been established, Usenet news and other information can be read directly from Gopher. There were more than 7,000 Gopher servers on the Internet at its height. Its popularity declined as Web content increased throughout the 1990s.
GSN (government shared network): a highly specified, robust common network created by bringing together the best gigabit-speed resources, ISP, security and wide area networking capabilities for use by local and central government.
HFC (hybrid fibre coax): a hybrid network of optical fibre cables of the transport network and coaxial cables laid to the home. This hybridisation offers a cost-effective manner of providing very high bandwidth in the transport network and hundreds of Mbps to the home, as coaxial cable is cheaper to purchase and install.
HTML (hypertext markup language): the standard scripting language used to format or describe the structure of Web pages which might include text, tables, graphics and other elements. It delivers a common view of the page to all browsers over the Web. It is a simplified derivative of SGML(standard generalised mark-up language), a widely used standard from the mid-1980s. Information and page layout is framed in markers or tags which tell the browser how everything should be viewed.
HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol): the ability to link from text in one document to another document within the same web site or out to related documents in any other web site. The rules governing the software that transports hyperlinked files.
Interconnection agreement: an agreement between two telecommunications services providers, exchanging traffic between the respective networks. The agreement includes quality of service and payment arrangements for transitioning traffic across networks.
Internet2: the US-led global science and research supercomputer network that had its originals in the late ’90s, involving universities and research organisations around the world. New Zealand was a latecomer, only linking in 2006. Internet2 is now going through another phase of growth and is one of several major projects seeking to establish a more solid framework for the next generation Internet. The not-for-profit advanced networking group comprises more than 200 US universities in co-operation with 70 leading corporations, 45 government agencies, laboratories and higher learning institutions as well as more than 50 international partners.
Intranet: an internal, company-wide Internet-based network that gives secure access to important company information from price lists to processes, procedures, employment guidelines and newsletters.
Extranet: an extension of a secure internal intranet for use by business partners or those in the supply chain so they can access catalogues, price lists or core information needed to facilitate their relationship with that business.
IAB (Internet Architecture Board): has the big picture overview of how everything is strung together in the Internet. It is chartered both as a committee of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and as an advisory body of the ISOC. Its responsibilities include architectural oversight of IETF activities, oversight and appeal role in the Internet standards process and the appointment of the RFC (requests for comment) editor. It is also responsible for the management of the IETF protocol parameter registries.
IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority): oversees global IP address allocation, DNS root management, and other Internet protocol assignments. IANA was administered primarily by Jon Postel at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, under contract to the US Department of Defence and later the Department of Commerce. From 1 January 1999 it became an operating unit of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
IBM System/360: a mainframe computer system family announced by IBM in 1964, the first to make a clear distinction between architecture and implementation, allowing compatibility across its range of models. Customers could purchase a smaller system with an upgrade path.
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers): oversees a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed by IANA. Its role includes managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses including introducing new generic top level domains and defining policy. The technical work is referred to as the IANA function. The organisation was in late 2007 still engaged in moving out from under the US Government-based structure to become a fully independent body. Australian Paul Twomey was the president and CEO since March 2003 and from November 2007 New Zealander Peter Dengate Thrush replaced Vint Cerf as chairman of the ICANN board of directors.
IBGP (internal border gateway protocol): used ‘inside’ an autonomous system (AS). This works much like a ‘network neighbourhood,’ used inside the confines of its own AS, but cannot be used in conjunction with a different AS.
ICQ: the first super-popular instant messaging service.
IETF (Internet Engineering Taskforce): a large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. Its working groups on routing, transport, security etc largely co-ordinate via email and the IETF meets three times a year.
IGP (interior gateway protocol): a routing protocol used within an autonomous system (AS) in contrast to an exterior gateway protocol (EGP) which determines network ‘reachability’ between autonomous systems
IP (Internet protocol): open-system (non-proprietary) protocol suite which can be used to communicate across any set of interconnected networks including for LAN and WAN communications. A network-layer (Layer 3) protocol containing addressing information and some control information that enables packets to be routed between computers on packet switched networks. The Internet protocols consist of the transmission control protocol (TCP) and Internet protocol (IP). The IP suite includes lower-layer protocols but it also specifies common applications such as electronic mail, terminal emulation and file transfer. The current version is IPv4 but the roll-out of IPv6 is well underway with advanced networks adhering to the new numbering scheme that allows millions more addresses to be used for identifying connected devices. Also an acronym for intellectual property
IPNet (Internet Protocol Network): Telecom’s proprietary network that removes Internet traffic from the PSTN at each switching exchange and sends it to its destination (usually an ISP) via an Internet-optimised backbone.
IRC (Internet relay chat): a form of real-time Internet chat or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group (many-to-many) communication in discussion forums called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication and data transfers via private message.
ISDN (integrated services digital network): a transmission system that can carry a range of digital voice, data and images over increments of 64kbit/sec. A Basic ISDN line is 2B + D (2 x 64kbit/sec plus a 16kbit/sec signaling channel) while a higher end Premium service providing up to 30 x 64kbit/sec for PBX use and was regularly used by ISPs in New Zealand as an alternative to having hundreds of modems at the end of dial-up lines.
ISOC (The Internet Society): a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1992 to provide leadership and open development of Internet-related standards, education and policy. ISOC has more than 90 organisational members and 26,000 individual members. It has offices in Washington and Geneva. The Internet Society provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organisation home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Architecture Board.
ISP (Internet service provider): connects individuals and business customers to the Internet via dial-up modems or high-speed data links connected to telecommunications switches for routing. The ISP leases bandwidth from the national infrastructure service providers such as Telecom or TelstraClear. ISPs are increasingly becoming carriers in their own right with partnerships for internal and external network access and with local loop unbundling are able to place their own terminating technology within Telecom’s exchanges and roadside cabinets. ISPs typically offer Web hosting, email, fast Internet access and a range of security and business solutions.
Janet (Joint Academic Network): a private British Government-funded computer network dedicated to education and research including higher education organisations and research councils. The majority of sites are connected via 20 metropolitan area networks across the United Kingdom. It is also linked to other European and worldwide. Janet is operated by JANET (United Kingdom), which is also responsible for the .ac.uk and .gov.uk domains. The system first went live in April 1983, hosting about 50 sites with line speeds of 9.6kbit/sec. In the mid-1980s the backbone was upgraded to a 2Mbit/sec backbone then 8Mbit/sec in the early 1990s sped the backbone to 8Mbit/s and the access links to 2Mbit/s, making it the fastest X.25 network in the world. The evolution of Janet helped standardise the Coloured Book X.25 protocols which confused the world for a while and leaned heavily towards the OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) seven layer model but then in 1991 it began testing out an IP pilot. Soon IP superceded Coloured Book use. Today JANET is primarily a high-speed IPNetwork. Today there are several advancements which use high-speed fibre-optic networking, which are designated SuperJanet.
KAREN (Kiwi academic and research network): the network cobbled together from various multi-gigabit providers which serves as the backbone for the country’s high-speed science and research network linking local universities and science and research institutes and connecting into Internet2 and other international resources.
Linux: an open source computer operating system which is essentially a free variant of Unix. It originated with the GNU Project and was ultimately pieced together when Fin Linus Torvalds wrote the kernel in 1991.
Listserv: automated mailing list enabling on-line discussions of technical and non-technical issues via email. Originally designed for the Bitnet networks.
LLU (local loop unbundling): where the incumbent or dominant carrier is required to allow competing carriers to locate equipment in their exchanges or roadside cabinets to access to the ‘last mile’ into homes and businesses. New Zealand designated LLU in 2006 and gradually began opening up Telecom’s network for competitors to deliver independent services late in 2007.
Local loop: an estimated 1.7 million copper links from Telecom’s network that runs from exchanges or roadside cabinets into homes and businesses. For DSL technology to provide optimum broadband throughput the length should typically be no longer than 5km between the exchange and the premises, and is increasingly being reduced to hundreds of metres or less in build up and new sub-divisions. Also known as the last mile.
Mash-up: a Web 2.0 term typically denoting the combining of data, services or code from more than one source into a single integrated tool.
Mbone (multicast backbone): an early Internet service which gave public access for desktop video communications or broadcasts. The quality at only three-five frames per second was poor compared to the 30 frames per second of standard TV television but it was in demand for a time for audio communication and sharing whiteboards or shared editing of documents between remote parties. It was also used to broadcast concerts around the world.
Modem (modulator-demodulator): an internal or external electronic device that converts digital signals from the computer into analogue signals for transmission through a phone line and then back into digital at its destination.
Mosaic: the first widely used Internet browser for the World Wide Web. There were several variants of Mosaic including Netscape, which was also the company name used by Marc Andreessen to market his pioneering browser.
MUD (multi-user dungeon, domain or dimension): multi-player computer games that combine elements of role-playing, hack and slash-style computer games and social chat rooms. Typically running on an Internet server or bulletin board system, the game is usually text-driven, where players read descriptions of rooms, objects, events, other characters, and computer-controlled creatures or non-player characters (NPCs) in a virtual world.
Naked DSL: unbundled bitstream access. The engineering term is shared spectrum. The opening up of a carrier’s network so customers can purchase DSL services from one provider and phone services from another. A DSL line without dial tone so competing carriers can provide their own services apart from the main carrier’s exchanges. Competitors provide their own equipment in exchanges or roadside cabinets and their own dial tone.
Netness: a term that conveys the extent to which individuals are linked to one another regardless of the type of networking is wired broadband, mobile, cellular or wi-fi or whether you are using a cellphone, laptop or connected PC.
Newbie: a naïve person, novice or someone new or with little experience on the Internet and its various services, including newsgroups, blogging and social networking.
Newsgroups: an important part of the early development of the Internet was the establishment of mailing lists and newsgroups where subscribers could discuss specialist subjects – an arena of the Internet often overlooked by newcomers who remain entranced by the wiles of the Web. The discussion groups, or newsgroups, news, debate and argument is generally known as Usenet.
NodeCode: software and protocols developed by John Paine at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO), which enabled wider connectivity from early DEC PDP machines. It was offered free as long as users shared their own advancements with the creator.
Netiquette: from Net and etiquette. Internet etiquette. The appropriate behaviour for on-line citizens which ranges from not abusing each other to not using capital letters in emails (seen as shouting) and not posting to newsgroups or on-line communities without first understanding how they operate and what their expectations are from newbies. While the Internet is now more anarchic than ever, good manners still go a long way towards preserving your on-line reputation. Behave as if you are face to face with the person you are emailing or the group you are addressing. Avoid uncontrolled outbursts (the Web has a long memory) and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself and you’ll be okay.
Operational separation: British Telecom did it voluntarily under pressure from regulatory body Oftel; Telecom New Zealand reluctantly began to comply this year. The idea is that the telecommunications giant is broken up into completely separate, arm’s-length wholesale, retail and network divisions with their own management structure and no performance incentives across those borders. This is meant to result in a neutral wholesale division that deals with all customers, including Telecom’s retail arm equally promoting fairer competition across the market and providing the right incentives for further investment in the network.
OSI (open systems interconnection): an attempt to create a standardised approach to computer networking at a time when multiple proprietary operating systems and network methodologies including SNA, Appletalk, Netware and DECnet among others had created confusion and an interoperability nightmare. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the ITU backed an industry effort from 1982 to try to get everyone to agree on a common way forward. Many vendors and whole countries began to back the complex seven-layer OSI model (application, presentation, session, transport, network, data link, and physical layers), even when it became clear the emerging TCP/IP protocol stack was far simpler and superior. The collapse of the OSI project in 1996 was a slap in the face for those organisations that doggedly pursued it despite the industry’s rapid acceptance of IP. Packet switching: sending data in packets through a network. Each packet has its own unique identification and destination address and even though they make take different routes they end up reassembled at the same destination. X.25 was an early packet-switching network protocol. The Internet is also a packet-switched network.
PACCOM (Pacific Communications): the direct international IP link between the US Internet backbone node in Hawaii from 1989, firstly with New Zealand then shortly afterwards Australia, Japan and Korea. The consortium, under the auspices of NASA, partly funded the original connection between the US Internet backbone and a gateway at the University of Waikato.
Peer-to-peer: a form of networking that does away with the notion of clients or servers and enables either party to act as one or the other, based on demand. The relationship is an equal person-to-person, computer-to-computer or peer-to-peer (P2P) one. This approach is used to share audio, video, data or other files. An example was Napster or Gnutella, where users seeking access to particular music or movie clips could download that content from any number of peers who might have it, while making content from their own hard drives available to others. An important goal in peer-to-peer networks is that all clients provide resources, including bandwidth, storage space, and computing power. As nodes arrive and demand on the system increases, the total capacity of the system also increases.
Ping: a test of response time between your computer and the host you are trying to connect to. A rapid response time is ideal; a slow response time suggests poor performance or issues on the line or with configuration.
POP: points of presence. Wherever an ISP has a presence – a server or access point – in a particular location, for delivering email and Internet-based services. The data from the customer is then routed from the ISP’s switch through the ISP’s gateway to either a national or international Internet site. Post Office: the Local Posts Act of 1858, two years after the new colony had been given greater autonomy from Australia, allowed for the appointment of a postmaster general and authorised provincial councils to establish post office services which were to be co-ordinated on a national basis. Ultimately the New Zealand Post Office would take control of banking through the Post Office Savings Bank along with telegraph and telex services, the telephone network for national and international calls and radio services including contact with ships.
PPP (point-to-point protocol): an early protocol used to enable a computer to connect to another computer or a remote server over a standard telephone line using Internet protocols and a modem. Its predecessor was SLIP (serial line interface protocol).
Project Gutenberg: a volunteer effort to digitise, archive and distribute cultural works, founded by University of Illinois student Michael Hart in 1971. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books.
Protocol: set of standards defining how data is handled by the various computing and networking devices as it moves from point to point or point to multipoint. TCP/IP is the main set of protocols that enables the Internet to transparently handle so many forms of file transfer and communications. REXX (REstructured eXtended eXecutor): an interpreted programming language developed at IBM and designed to be both easy to learn and easy to read.
RS-232: defines different serial signals and their respective pin assignments on a standard 25-pin serial connector. For many years a RS-232-compatible port was a standard feature for modem connections, on many computers. It remained in widespread use into the late 1990s.
Router: device that allows network traffic to be moved to its destination by the most efficient route.
RSS (rich site summary or really simple syndication): a must-have for many frequently changing sites. A family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document can contain a summary of content or the full text from an associated web site. It can be read through an RSS reader or an aggregator, which summarises the content you have subscribed and will automatically update any new content it finds when you click on it.
Search engine: a software engine that allows you to search the Web with common search terms from your browser, looking for documents, files and photographs; eg Google, Yahoo!, AltaVista, Ask, HotBot, Lycos, AlltheWeb etc.
SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol): the de facto standard for email transmissions over the Internet. Social networking: collaborative and conversational on-line communities of people with common or similar interests, using interactive web sites for sharing opinions, files and profiles; eg MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and LinkedIn. An association of people drawn together by family, work or hobbies. The term was first coined by Professor J. A. Barnes in the 1950s, who defined the size of a social network as a group of about 100 to 150 people.
Southern Cross Cable: the name given to the high capacity undersea fibre-optic cable that connects New Zealand with Australia and the US.
Structural separation: the path chosen in the US to split up AT&T and the regional Bell operating company telecommunications monopoly in 1983-84. The Baby Bells were split into separate competing businesses including Bell Atlantic and Ameritech and even BellSouth, which came to New Zealand to learn how to operate in a free market, failed to reinvest then sold off its shares for a huge profit. Sub-loop unbundling: part of the local loop unbundling process where competing carriers can locate their equipment in smaller cabinets or exchanges closer to the premises either to deliver DSL over copper or ultimately access fibre cables.
TCP/IP (transmission control protocol): Internet protocol (see IP).
Telnet (teletype network): a protocol that provides a facility for remote logins to computers via the Internet for terminal emulation. The result of a Tenet request would be an invitation to log on with a user ID and a prompt for a password. Developed in 1969, it became one of the first Internet standards.
Troll: insulting term for a stirrer or unwelcome presence in a forum or other on-line meeting place. From ‘trolling,’ a type of fishing that involves dragging bait along and hoping a fish will take it. Initially used to describe a forum poster or IRC chatter who made intentionally outrageous comments. Unbundling: the requirement for a major telephone company to open up its fixed line network to competing carriers. In New Zealand LLU means Telecom must allow competitors to install their own equipment in its exchanges to create their own independent networks based on reasonable commercial terms.
Unconstrained DSL or UBS: unconstrained bitstream access. Raw DSL speeds offered at the maximum speeds possible to wholesalers and those who place their DSLAMs on Telecom’s network (see Naked DSL). Unix: a multi-tasking, multi-user computer operating system that set the pace for the development of the Internet by bundling TCP/IP software, which was then used by developers around the world to set up email and Internet access.
Upload speed: the return path on DSL used to send data from your email or in gaming or interactive applications. This becomes increasingly important for applications such as VoIP (voice over IP), which needs high-speeds both ways. Calls can be interrupted if the upload path isn’t sufficient.
URL (uniform resource locator): the address you enter to find a Web page.
Usenet: a global bulletin board system where millions of people exchange public information on every conceivable topic. Predates the Web as the most active place for collaboration and sharing of ideas and data.
UUNET: US-based UUNET Communications Services began operation in 1987 as a non-profit corporation providing Usenet feeds, email exchange and access to a large repository of software source code and related information
Veronica: a program that searches the Internet for specific resources by description, not just file name. Using Boolean searches (this AND this, this OR this, etc.), users can search Gopher servers to retrieve a selected group of menus that pertain to their area of interest.
VDSL: Very high bit rate DSL supporting throughput sufficient for extremely high throughput such as video-on-demand and high definition TV. It can be both symmetric and asymmetric and provides up to 52Mbit/sec of bandwidth.
VPN (virtual private network): created for organisations with more than one physical location. The private network is normally created through a telecommunications leased line service. ISPs have created private networks on the public Internet through passwords, firewalls and other security measures.
WAIS (Wide Area Information Service): a free text search engine otherwise known as Z39.50, which conformed to library standards
WAP (wireless application protocol): the standard for integrating the Internet with cellphones, pagers and other digital mobile devices. Its micro-browser displayed key information from specially designed web sites.
Warez: pirated software that has been cracked.
Web: the World Wide Web, the hypermedia system for organising information which didn’t come into existence until 1990 and went through an exponential growth curve. From your Web browser you can type in a specific address or URL to get to any Web page.
Web cam: a camera and software on a computer that allows the users to view each others while conversing on-line. While primitive Web cams have been used to capture images of Mt Ruapehu erupting or view traffic congestion at peak hours, with broadband and higher resolution, today’s cameras enable true videoconferencing across the world and also capture high-quality images.
Wikipedia: free and continually evolving on-line encyclopedia that is built on by anyone who can prove they know what they’re talking about. Full references to any source material must be given and the pages are open for peer review by those who think they know better. A Web-based project operated by the not-for-profit Wikimedia Foundation. As of September 2007, Wikipedia had approximately 8.29 million articles in 253 languages. The English edition reached two million articles by 9 September 2007. Wikipedia regularly ranked among the top ten most-visited web sites worldwide.
WikiScanner: a programme devised by self-described American ‘destructive technologist’ Virgil Griffith, to identify the computers making alterations to Wikipedia.
WYSIWIG: what you see if what you get.
X.25: the first international standard packet switching network developed in the early 1970s and published in 1976 by the CCITT (now ITU). X.25 provides a connection-oriented technology for transmission over highly error-prone facilities, which were more common when it was first introduced. X.25 was designed to become a worldwide public data network similar to the global telephone system for voice, but it never came to pass due to incompatibilities and the lack of interest within the United States. It was used primarily outside the United States for low-speed applications up to 56kbit/sec such as credit card verifications.
DATA DEFINITIONS Bit (b) 1 or 0 Byte (B) 8 bits Kilobyte (Kb) 1000 bytes Megabyte (Mb) 1,000kb Gigabyte (Gb) 1,000Mb Terabyte (Tb) 1,000Gb Petabyte (Pb) 1,000TB Exabyte (Eb) 1,000PB Zettabyte (Zb) 1,000EB Bits on the move: kbit/sec, Mbit/sec or Gbit/sec
DOMAIN NAME MANAGEMENT TERMINOLOGY DRS (Dispute Resolution Service): An alternative process to court action, giving parties another mechanism to resolve disputes which may arise.
DNC: Domain Name Commissioner, an operational office of InternetNZ responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the .nz domain name registration and management system InternetNZ: The organisation authorised to manage the .nz domain name space. InternetNZ established the Office of the Domain Name Commissioner to oversee the management of the .nz domain name space.
NZOC: .nz Oversight Committee, the sub-committee of InternetNZ with the delegated authority to provide effective stewardship of the .nz domain name space.
NZRS: New Zealand Domain Name Registry Limited, trading as .nz Registry Services, the organisation responsible for operating the .nz register. 100% owned by InternetNZ.
RAG: Registrar Advisory Group, set up to represent the collective interests of the Registrar community.
Register: The authoritative record of .nz domain names, managed and operated by the registry.
Registrant: The person or entity who holds the right to use a domain name.
Registrar: An entity that has been authorised by the Domain Name Commissioner to register domain names on behalf of registrants.
Registry: The entity that operates the .nz domain name register, providing access to authorised registrars.
Reseller: An agent providing registration services through a registrar. They have no official status in the .nz domain name space.
SLA: Service Level Agreement – an agreement between InternetNZ and NZRS ( the registry) which outlines the standard of service NZRS has to deliver in managing the register.
SRS: Shared Registry System, a single database for registering and maintaining domain names which is able to be accessed by authorised .nz registrars.
2LD: Second Level Domain, a name at the second level of the .nz domain name hierarchy; for example, Internetnz.net.nz. In this example .net is at the second level. The .nz domain name space has several 2LDs to choose from.
DOWNLOAD GUIDELINES: TV or video streaming Needs at least 2Mbit/sec speeds. That’s 256kb of data per second or roughly 15.4Mb per minute of video or TV. A subscriber with a 2Gb cap would run over their allotment after only 129 minutes.
MP3 music files While these vary in size, depending on the length of the song they’re typically 1Mb per minute, eg a three-minute song is 3Mb.
Video clips Depending on size and resolution, a three-minute music video can use 5–20Mb depending on the quality (resolution) and the screen size you are using. A 30-minute clip could use up to 200Mb.
SOURCES: The author’s own understanding with a lot of help from various interview subjects plus Microsoft Encarta, PC World Encyclopedia, Webopedia: www.Webopedia.com, Wikipedia: www.wikipedia.com, Answers: www.answers.com, CSGnetwork: www.csgnetwork.com/glossarye.html, ISOC: www.isoc.org/isoc/, APStar Internet History: www.apstar.org/InternetHistoryAP.html PCHell: http://www.pchell.com/acronyms/index.shtml Internet: A New Zealand User’s Guide, David Merritt & Paul Reynolds, Penguin 1995
CONNECTING THE CLOUDS
What’s that floating in the troposphere?
Can you send the lightnings that they may go and say to you, here we are? The Old Testament, book of Job, 38:35
Why would you call a book about the history of the Internet in New Zealand, Connecting the Clouds, asked the publisher. Aotearoa1, the Maori name for New Zealand, is typically translated the Land of the Long White Cloud, and in telecommunications and networking diagrams the symbol of a cloud infers any number of switches, routers, trunks, network devices and services between access and exit points.2 You never quite know what is behind a cloud: endless ocean, snow-clad mountains, lush green valleys, rolling hills and abundant birdlife. Or a vibrant, entrepreneurial nation waiting to prove its mettle on the world stage but constrained by years of under-investment in infostructure? Clouds can symbolise atmosphere or moods; their shape and colour can imply many shades of meaning. Dark and broody and under the weather or light, wispy, and elated. You can imagine shapes within the shapes if you take the time. Meteorologically, clouds can bring shade on a hot day, rain, thunder, lightning, even portents of the future; will it rain tomorrow or will the sun rise on a clear day?
It seems the early voyagers to New Zealand were guided during the day, on their long journey from the mythical Hawaiiki, by ‘a long white cloud’ by day, and at night by a ‘long bright cloud.’ Hine-te-aparangi, the wife of the mythical Kupe – the earliest of the Maori navigators to make it this far – exclaimed on seeing the peculiar cloud: “He ao! He ao! A cloud! A cloud!” Looking up at the night sky she may have been referring to the great Magellan cloud3 near the bright star Canopus4 in summer or a long, misty cloud behind which they discovered the pristine islands where the sun first rises on the world. According to authorities, the interpretation of Aotearoa can be big, glaring light;5 continuously clear light; land of abiding day;6 long, bright world; long, lingering day; or long, bright land.7
The word ‘cloud’ can also be used colloquially: ‘clouding the issue’; for example, Telecom is clouding the issue deploying ‘confusion as a marketing tool’8 or suggesting ‘many customers haven’t found anything they can’t do with dial-up’9 – or the government setting its goals at ‘broadband’ Internet speeds that are long past their use-by date to get into the top half of the OECD top 30.
In telecommunications, a cloud refers to the public or semi-public space that exists between the points of a transmission. It is the unknown technical ether, where protocols, switching and the arcane mysteries of translating and seamlessly communicating between different networks are worked out before that data moves inexorably on to its destination, which may be other clouds in other buildings, cities or countries. More recently the term ‘tag cloud’ has been coined in relation to classifying or identifying content in social networking sites and Web 2.0–style folksonomies.10 For example, tag clouds can represent groupings of 30-150 of the most popular tags, offering a more visual and intuitive way of displaying hyperlinks, icons and metadata for drilling drill down into specific information. This is particularly useful when tags are collaboratively created, or voted on democratically.11
Not only is the Internet – that great network of interconnecting networks – a connection of clouds, but the new social networks where individuals gather to collectively contribute are creating new formations of cloud collaboration.
Keith Newman, December 2007
ACKNOWLEDGING SCRIBES A nod to the small but intrepid band of pioneering ICT writers, the interpreters of endless acronyms, technobabble and trends, whom I liberally borrowed from when I felt they had done a far better job than I in covering key events. Special thanks to the pioneers: Bill Bennett, Adrienne Perry, Peter Isaac, Stephen Bell, Chris Barton, Richard Wood, Randal Jackson, Don Hill, Neil Birss, Dave King, Peter King, Brenda Lobb, Doug Casement, Nobilangelo Ceramalus, Clive Matthew-Wilson, Chris Keall, Bruce Buckman, Anthony Doesburg, Paul Reynolds, Adam Gifford, Stephen Ballantyne, Rob Hosking, Richard Pamatatau, Richard Braddell, Andrea Malcolm, Michael Foreman, Rob O’Neill, Chris Bell, Divina Paredes, Paul Brislen, Peter Nowak and anyone I missed out. The industry even had its own media stars with former ’60s TV music show host the late Pete Sinclair, writing a regular column on Web trends in the NZ Herald, Dominion IT columnist Paul Reynolds as a regular on Radio New Zealand National; radio host and jazz buff Nigel Horrocks editing NetGuide, and pioneering blogger and radio show host Russell Brown writing for industry rags and The Listener.
Much respect to more recent entrants to the cabal who continue the tradition: Peter Griffin, Kate McLaughlin, Tom Pullar-Strecker, publisher and writer Matt Freeman, Adrian Bathgate, Campbell Gardner, David Dickens, Greg Adams, James Gardner, Helen Twose, Tim Hunter, Ulrika Hedquist, Paul Clearwater, Ken Lewis, Jenny Keown, Jon Hoyle and others who work hard to make technology news palatable. Appreciation to Vikki Bland who stuck with me through the PC Magazine years and the prolific Juha Saarinen, who we like to think we discovered. The efforts of these pioneering IT writers and the increasingly astute observations of a new generation of specialists made my job in tackling the impact of the Internet so much easier.
Thanks to former IDG publisher Martin Taylor, head of Addenda and Activity Press who was publisher for this work, editor Sara Goessi and designer Gina Hochstein. A special thanks to InternetNZ, which commissioned this tome, expanding the terms of reference when I overwrote, yet providing complete freedom to approach the project as I saw fit with no editorial interference. Much appreciation to executive director Keith Davidson and project manager Susi Fookes. Thanks also to Frank March, David Farrar and Peter Dengate Thrush, who helped me through the most difficult chapters with an eye for accuracy. A mention also to Claudia Lo and Martin Good from Student Job Search, who helped me transcribe recorded interviews when my hands were too sore to keep pace.