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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
Telnet is the login and terminal emulation protocol common on the Internet and in UNIX environments. It operates over TCP/IP networks. It allows users to log into remote host systems and provides basic communication functions between hosts. Originally, Telnet was a simple terminal program that sent all user input to the remote host for processing. Newer versions perform more processing locally, thus providing better response and reducing the amount of information transferred over the link to the remote host. Administrators often use Telnet to control remote servers.
Telnet was developed in the early days of the Internet when the network interconnected mainframe systems built by IBM, DEC, Honeywell, and Xerox. According to Where Wizards Stay Up Late (Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, 1996, Touchstone), "Telnet was conceived in order to overcome simple differences, such as establishing a connection and determining what kind of character set to use." Thus, Telnet helped pave the way for rapid expansion of the Internet.
Telnet is a client/server process in which the user invokes the Telnet application on the local system and sets up a link to a Telnet process running on a remote host. The user issues requests at the keyboard that are passed to the Telnet client running in his or her system. Telnet then transmits the requests to the Telnet server on the remote host. Through this process, users can initiate programs on the remote host and run those programs from their own systems as if they were attached directly to the remote host. Most processes run on the remote host. It receives requests from the user's system and processes them in its workspace, thus reducing traffic over the link.
Telnet was originally defined in RFC 854 (Telnet Protocol Specification, May 1983). A number of other RFCs were written to enhance this RFC. These are outlined in the References section of RFC 2877 (5250 Telnet Enhancements, July 2000). In 2000, RFCs 2941-2944 and RFCs 2946-2953 were written to define Telnet authentication and encryption options.
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.