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RFC 153 - SRI ARC-NIC status


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Network Working Group                                          J. Melvin
Request for Comments: 153                                      R. Watson
NIC: 6758                                                        SRI-ARC
                                                             15 May 1971

                           SRI ARC-NIC Status

Computer and Network Status

   The conversion to the DEC PDP 10, running the BBN operating system
   Tenex, has just about been completed.  We have had a number of
   obscure bugs which caused delays recently.  Several symptoms were
   traced to bad data being written into memory.  This problem was
   diagnosed as a noisey ground on a chip in the drum-disk memory bus
   access control.  With the problem fixed our reliability has improved
   significantly to about one crash every day or two.  System attention
   has now been turned to system measurement and tuning and to bringing
   up an NCP and Telnet.

   We have been working to bring up the BBN NCP of Doc. #1 NIC (5143,)
   and BBN's Telnet.  Because of our different configuration from BBN's
   and slightly different system we have not yet removed all the bugs
   caused by these differences.  As of May 14 we estimate that we are
   only a few hours away from completing this task.  We need more
   testing before we can provide network service.  We will bring up the
   NCP of RFC 107 NIC (5806) when we can obtain it from BBN and the
   official Telnet when it is specified and BBN can provide it to us.

   At present our local connect capacity allows for 12 displays and 24
   typewriter terminals.  With about 10 displays and 6 typewriter
   terminals running NLS, response is satisfactory, but marginal for
   display users.  The delivery in June of new Bryant drums and the
   measurement and tuning in progress should increase capacity and
   response.  How much improvement to expect is not known.

   The system processing required to support a network user is heavier
   than that required to support a local typewriter user.  Therefore we
   are not sure how many network users we will be able to support
   without degrading response seriously or requiring us to limit local
   loading by administrative restrictions.  Our guess at the moment is
   that we can handle 6 network users by middle summer with an
   optimistic expectation that we might be able to handle closer to 12.

   As there is only limited interactive experience over the network, we
   do not know what its response characteristics will be like.  We may
   find that the delays caused by two timesharing systems and the
   network transmission may allow us to support the higher number of

   network users without adding serious incremental response delays.
   The loading caused by parallel processes controlling intersite file
   transfers is also an unknown factor at this point.

   We are pushing to increase our capacity by providing deferred
   execution facilities which will allow NLS compatible file preparation
   and editing offline or in local hosts and then will allow entry of
   the files so created into NLS for further manipulation.

   File capacity is also going to be a scarce resource and we are
   studying ways of using tape or the facilities at UCSB to give us an
   integrated auxiliary facilities.

   Our plans for providing online service to the network are briefly
   given below.  There are intermediate stages possible.  For example,
   if all goes well in the early part of Stage 0 we can probably allow
   more sites to participate in Stage 0.

      Stage 0 (June 18):

         Stage 0 is to provide experimental access to the NIC for a
         limited number of West Coast sites (these sites provide a
         variety of hosts and having them on the west coast simplifies
         communications for this initial trial period) so that we can
         learn how to handle any problems which may come up in actual
         network operation.

         Stage 0 will allow access to the Tenex Executive.  NICTNLS (NIC
         Version of Typewriter On Line System), an initial Network
         Dialog Support System-NICDSS (which will allow online creation
         and submission of messages and documents, with hardcopy mail
         delivery), and the first release of our users manual.

         We will allow an initial maximum of two network users on at
         once.

         There will be a two day NICTNLS course at SRI June 16-17 for
         the initial sites.

      Stage 1 (August 2):

         Stage 1 is to provide access to the NIC from any site in the
         network having the appropriate access software.

         Stage 1 will allow access to a self contained version of
         NICTNLS not requiring access to the Tenex Executive, the NICDSS
         of Stage 0 with online access to documents and messages created
         online, online access of network related files such as the  NIC
         Catalog, ARPA Network Resource Notebook and NIC documentation.

         We expect to provide training to sites desiring access.  We
         will allow as many network users simultaneous access as we can,
         depending on initial success with system tuning.  A reasonable
         guess is 4-8.

      Stage 2 (September 6):

         Stage 2 will provide message delivery to files at remote sites
         (assuming the NWG establishes file transfer protocols soon and
         sites implement them), an initial deferred execution mode
         allowing users to prepare files on their systems and then have
         them entered into NICTNLS for further work, and improved query
         facilities of network online files.

         We hope to have improved Tenex-NLS performance so as to allow
         more network users simultaneous access than allowed in Stage 1.

Offline System Status

   Mailing:  We mail RFC's and other material going to Liaison people as
   soon as we can get the material duplicated, which is usually within
   24-48 hours after we receive it.  We mail material to station agents
   once each week, usually on Fridays.

   When people do their own direct mailing to the Liaison list, please
   send us a good copy, preferably the original, for duplication and
   sending to the stations.

   Document Numbering:  It is important for citation and cataloging
   purposes that each document created have a unique number.  Even if a
   document is just an update of one previously issued, one should use a
   new NIC number and RFC number and indicate which document(s) it
   supercedes.  There are lots of numbers so feel free to use them.

   Site Documentation:  Our recommendations on how we would like to
   handle this type of document and the type of information these
   documents should contain are described in RFC's 115 NIC (5822) and
   118 NIC (5830).  We urge each Liaison person and station agent to
   read these carefully.

   Catalog:  Our biggest problem caused by the computer transfer has
   been getting out an up-to-date catalog.  We apologize for the
   inconvenience this has caused.  Producing the catalog has turned out
   to be a good debugging tool, however.  The most recent catalog,
   containing citations through 23 March, was mailed 13 May.  This
   catalog contains an RFC index through 5 May.  Currently a catalog is
   being produced to bring us up-to date.  With the issuing of this
   catalog around the end of the month, we expect to produce an up-to-
   date catalog on a monthly basis.

   General:  If there are any problems a station may be having in
   organizing or handling their collection which we could help with,
   please let our Information and Agent Coordinator Jeanne North know.
   If anyone has any suggestions for how we could improve our service or
   has any suggestions for services we should perform please let us
   know.

       [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
          [ into the online RFC archives by Ryan Kato 6/01 ]

 

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