Greenbelt Internet Access Cooperative

Monthly Board Meeting - May 1, 1997

GATE Office, Greenbelt Community Center


G U E S T   P R E S E N T A T I O N


Dorian brought John "Woody" Woodruff of US.NET to the GIAC meeting to propose changing ISPs. Woody said that he is a network engineer, not a pitchman. There are 6 owners and 18 employees. They have been in business for 3 years. Woody's partner is the businessman, and they have a salesperson.


US.NET is a local Unix-based operation. They have 200-300 modems on Cherry Hill in Laurel. The offices are in Calverton. They use digital terminal servers and ISDN. Their accounts provide 5MB per user, but there are high usage charges for more than 100MB/month. He said that most users use less than 1% of that.


As all mail accounts are on the same server, they can't distinguish by domain, so some account names would have to be changed. They will consider setting up multiple mailboxes for a $10 setup fee. US.NET tech support is available 9-9 weekdays, 9-5 Saturday, and 1-5 Sunday. US.NET supports 4000 newsgroups and users can add more.


Woody suggested that each account would cost $12-$14/month on his system. They match Erol's at $9.95/month, but hate to.


Woody's main proposal was that GIAC rent modem space from US.NET. This plan would charge GIAC $100/modem/month based on a high water mark per month. If 40 members were logged on at a time for one second in the month, the bill would then be $4000 for that month.


To answer Dorian's question about access speed, Woody said that the old analog modems can't get above 26.4K on POTS lines. They can reach 28.8K only on a completely clean line. 33.6K modems are asymmetric. They are only 33.6K to you and much less back to the provider. And one end must be completely digital. There are two standards: US Robotics X2 and Lucent's K56Flex technology. With 56K, ISDN will redial in a second. There is no cost differential yet, but ISDN access will cost more eventually. ISDN transmits one way at a time, while 56K transmits at 56K both ways.


Woody said there are a couple of ways to handle the conversion, but his virtual modem plan is the only one he has a price for. Personal accounts are $10/month with a promise that no personal servers will be run on them all day long. Advantages to using US.NET include phone line quality, local service in Baltimore, DC and Richmond, and dial-up and FTP driven off the same server. The current DSI setup could be duplicated using Group Security. They haven't done that before. They use Stronghold SSL Servers, which allow no super users.


Woody also suggested that we set up our own server at their site for $795/month. This would give us eight modems, our own phone line, and an Ethernet link to the rest of their modems. This would allow those of us with Linux at home to RemoteX to the server to maintain it. Cost per modem used is a separate issue.


To start changeover procedures, Woody suggested that we send him a file of usernames to check for collisions with their current base of e-mail users.


Neil said that we paid $410 on May 1 for thirty-nine active accounts, one domain, and 10MB of webspace.


Woody said they could support us as long as there is no unattended use. Dan asked, "Can you work within our parameters?" "Very close," Woody replied. "I'll have to talk to my partner. We'll try to do this at close to $10/account if Greenbelt.COM will do their own tech support."


Doug asked if Telnet and Mud Sites are supported, as some users had asked for them. Woody said that they don't do personal shells, but the Menu has Telnet, FTP, etc. There is one standard Mud client.


Neil explained our current tech support: "I collect calls and handle what I can. When we get a number of calls, I make one call to DSI."


Woody said that they are 28.8K now, will be 33.6K at the next upgrade, and 56K is around the corner. There was some discussion of PPP versus other systems. Woody said that modern terminal servers run PPP right out of the box.


Doug inquired if we could run simultaneously on two ISPs. Woody said that it would be difficult, and would require a great deal of cooperation between the ISPs.


After Woody left, Dorian said that DSI sounds pretty cheap. Everyone agreed.





- 05/03/97 Posted by Doug Love
- 05/05/00 Edited by Neil McLeod

- 09/01/05 Reformatted by Neil McLeod