Announcement: Network Startup Resource Center
October 1992

We have received a small grant from NSF to provide technical assistance to people setting up networks in developing areas that will provide links for collaboration with US scientists. The networking tools and facilities and engineering information databases we are constructing are oriented toward start-up assistance, and include both one-on-one assistance and accumulated archives of relevant files (see below).

Beyond that, it may be easier to describe our area of specialization by pointing out some activities in which we are not engaging. Our file archives are intended to complement, not compete with, the archives of information about networks in various areas of the world being maintained by Larry Landweber and Larry Press, among others. Our efforts are oriented toward network engineering. For example, there is little point asking us whether there are network connections in location X unless you are prepared, with some technical assistance, to take an active role in starting one if one does not exist. To put this differently, the best sources of information about network availability in various locations remain the usual publications, the lists and archives, various directories and servers, and the info-nets list. Similarly, the best internet source for information about general development issues remains DEVEL-L and related lists.

We have no dollars to distribute. We are willing to pass rumors about people or organizations who might, but don't get your hopes up. Our philosophy is that it has become sufficiently inexpensive to put up a network node that the engineering knowledge, will, and tools are the major obstacles. Hence, the major foci of our attack are knowledge and tools, with advice, support, and sympathy served on the side.

Because of this start-up orientation, our "network" emphasis also tends to be at the lower end: closer to connections using cans and wet string than to multi-megabit links, although we are quite happy to use whatever we can get. We believe that the low-end technology has advanced to the point that any competent scientifically trained individual can set up a low-cost network host capable of communicating with others (typically Fidonet, UUCP, or SLIP/PPP), and that the main obstacle is the lack of easily available adequate documentation and easily installed tools aimed toward that type of person, a known place where they can be referred to appropriate technical help with the tools, as well as an unwarranted degree of mystery about the process.

If questions appear on info-nets or DEVEL-L on topics within the scope of this effort or in which we have special expertise, we will respond: no special additional effort is needed.

The archives of text files can be browsed by connecting to the gopher at gopher.psg.com (curently 147.28.0.34). Tools, startup kits, and more text files are available from ftp.psg.com (currently 147.28.0.33). The ftp archive can be accessed through a mail-based server. Send mail to server@ftp.psg.com with "help" as the message body for more information. We are also willing to send tools and books by post to developing areas with no current network access.

Naturally, we are actively soliciting new documentation about entry level networking, tools, kits, and gossip about connectivity to the developing regions.

If you need to reach us directly, the preferred mailing address is lowcost-net@psg.com or, if you prefer, lowcost-net@infoods.unu.edu.

Randy Bush randy@psg.com
John Klensin klensin@infoods.unu.edu