Are there legacy or modern non-TCP/IP networks worth exploring out there, and how do you get to them?
October 23, 2019 at 9:15 am #149910
A few years ago I started trying to crystallize some memories which were getting fuzzy with the passage of time. In particular, I was doing some research on an old service called [PC Pursuit](http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/library/CONCEPTS/SERVICES/PCPURSUIT/).
PC Pursuit used [Telenet](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telenet) (not to be confused with Telnet) which was a large X.25 packet-switched network I was only vaguely aware of at the time.
You’d dial into Telenet via a local number using a modem, and then you could from there connect to another city and dial out via a modem bank to systems in that city – in my memory, it was mostly [ddials](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diversi-Dial) located in that remote city for a flat monthly fee.
Although I didn’t use the system directly, I did use ddials which were then linked to ddials in other cities via PC Pursuit, and later I would hear rumors that either PC Pursuit was a cover explanation for either illicit use of Telenet, or, alternately, hacked PC Pursuit logins.
As I was recalling all of this, I found [this talk](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEz7gaW5v6o) about using VoIP to connect to X.25 networks still existing – as of a few years ago – in India. It’s been awhile since I watched the video but I believe it involved using old dialup modems over VoIP, the practicality of which is unclear (I have read a variety of comments on how well this works, from “not at all” to “okay priovided you use a low baud rate.” To my right, here, I’ve obtained an old Hayes Accura 56K modem which I will be experimenting with re: dial-up BBSes via my two VoIP boxes, in the next few days.)
Anyway, my larger question is:
* Does anyone know of old legacy networks, or modern non-Internet networks that are worth exploring?
* Are any of them bridged to the Internet? That is to say, can I telnet to some kind of bridge or proxy server which will connect me?
What prompted this question was considering the consequences of convergence of all data, to the Internet. Was just on vacation and watching Dish Network television and just realizing how much I don’t miss having broadcast TV (I use streaming, though). I was thinking further of the growing irrelevancy of everything from the airwaves (even when I want to listen to terrestrial radio, I can typically just find the website and stream to my browser or phone), to what the future of POTS is and what happened to phreaking.
Phreaking as a technical practice is less what I mean:
With domestic long distance calling being essentially free now, the point of phreaking for that purpose is unclear (I know people did conferencing and other things in the old days besides this. Unsure if there is an existing community that still screws with the phone network just for curiosity’s sake.)
Nor do existing BBS networks, really. What those old networks worked around was the idea that if you wanted to send a message to someone far away, you could post a message on your local board and Fidonet or whatever would route that message beyond your local area. Even if the user base of modern BBSes was 20 times the size it is, the internet connectivity of these boards greatly reduces the reason to run one. We don’t really need more than a few.
I can connect, for example, to a BBS in New Zealand from here in Arizona, without charges (though the latency of full-duplex communications makes this less than ideal.)
There’s way more BBS bandwidth than there are users. Some people say there are more sysops than users.
Voice converges on the net, especially via WiFi calling or VoIP or voice chat.
Television converges on the net, because of streaming.
You can even listen to shortwave or police scanners or the various ham bands by just [connecting to a site](https://www.globaltuners.com/) which has a receiver connected. Amateur radio relay nets are fairly interesting to me technically although I rarely hear much of interest being discussed on them. I am also interested in packet radio BBSes but haven’t been able to find any I can connect to.
Banking, education, and – limping along, one joint e-mail system for planet earth — all things have converged here on the Internet and TCP/IP.
* What is out there that is not Internet?
* How can I get there?
Curious what people have found or know about.
I’ve done a bunch of searches on Shodan, but thus far I’ve not found anything which really indicates any gateways to outside the Internet (though there are more Finger and Gopher servers still active than you’d expect.)
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