Usenet Overview, History and Standards
(Page 3 of 3)
Usenet Transport Methods
As I said earlier, Usenet messages were originally transported using UUCP, which was created to let UNIX systems communicate directly, usually using telephone lines. For many years, all Usenet messages were simply sent from machine to machine using computerized telephone calls (just as e-mail once was). Each computer joining the network would connect to one already on Usenet and receive a feed of messages from it periodically; the owner of that computer had in turn to agree to provide messages to other computers.
Once TCP/IP was developed in the 1980s and the Internet grew to a substantial size and scope, it made sense to start using it to carry Usenet messages rather than UUCP. The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) was developed specifically to describe the mechanism for communicating Usenet messages over TCP. It was formally defined in RFC 977, published in 1986, with NNTP extensions described in RFC 2980, October 2000.
For many years Usenet was carried using both NNTP and UUCP, but NNTP is now the mechanism used for the vast majority of Usenet traffic, and for this reason is the primary focus of my Usenet discussion in this Guide. NNTP is employed not only to distribute Usenet articles to various servers, but also for other client actions such as posting and reading messages. It is thus used for most of the steps in Usenet message communication.
It is because of the critical role of NNTP and the Internet in carrying messages in todays Usenet that the concepts are often confused. It's essential to remember, however, that Usenet does not refer to any type of physical network or internetworking technology; rather, it is a logical network of users. That logical network has evolved from UUCP data transfers to NNTP and TCP/IP, but Usenet itself is the same.
Today, Usenet faces competition from many other group messaging applications and protocols, including Web-based bulletin board systems and chat rooms. After a quarter of a century, however, Usenet has established itself and is used by millions of people every day. While to some, the primarily text-based medium seems archaic, it is a mainstay of global group communication and likely to continue to be so for many years to come.
Home - Table Of Contents - Contact Us
The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
Not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of this site.