NSFNET Reports Survey Results

Dale S. Johnson dsj
Sat Sep 11 03:27:29 UTC 1993


  Many thanks to those who responsed to our NSFNET Reports Survey last
July.  As part of this review process, we have developed two new
flavors of machine-readable reports which contain all the information
about nets that we keep.  Because of the implementation of CIDR this
fall, all current reports that include net information will change;  if
you will need to modify any of your programs because of these changes,
you might consider modifying them to use the new reports that were
designed for machine parsing.  We have also expanded the syntax
recognized by the "whois" server on prdb.merit.edu, so you can run any
of our prdb "clients" without compiling those clients on your own
machine.  Both these services are described below.

  Also, the mail group "db-disc at merit.edu" which was requested in the
Sprint/Reston Regional Techs meeting does exist, and has the following
initial membership (besides Merit folks):

>     250-<tom at cic.net>
>     250-<curtis at ans.net>
>     250-<klong at sura.net>
>     250-<bostwick at es.net>
>     250-<prue at ISI.EDU>
>     250-<CUNNINGHAM at B.PSC.EDU>
>     250-<MARTIN at CEARN.cern.ch>
>     250-<hwb at upeksa.sdsc.edu>
>     250-<asp at uunet.uu.net>
>     250-<MAP at BBN.Com>
>     250-<cjw at magnolia.Stanford.EDU>
>     250-<sharad at ans.net>
>     250 <"| /usr/local/etc/archiver db-disc/db-disclog">

These are folks who either answered the survey, or who have indicated
interest in detailed discussion of NSFNET PRDB information
dissemination.  This announcement message has been sent to db-disc with
a bcc to regional-techs and nwg, so that any replies will go only to
the discussion list.  If you would like to be added to this list,
please reply to "[email protected] merit.edu" or to me.  All discussion will
be archived for anonymous ftp on merit.edu.


The Survey Results.

  Generally, there seem to be a few net reports and one AS report that
are widely and frequently used.  We will continue to support these (though
their formats will need to be modified when we start supporting CIDR this
fall).  There were also several calls for more complete information, and for
versions of the reports more easily suitable for machine parsing, so we
have come up with "unload" and "tagged" reports to meet these needs.

The New Net Reports

  There are now two new reports available on nis.merit.edu:nsfnet/
announced.networks .  "nets.tag.now" describes all the nets in the PRDB
database in a "tagged" format:

>   netnum: 6
>   prefixlen: 8
>   netname: YPG-NET
>   homeas: 
>   aup: N
>   netcc: US
>   orgstate: AZ
>   orgtype: 
>   orgaddr: Army Information Systems Center, USAISC, Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma,
>   AZ 
>   85365-9102, USA
>   update: 93/02/08
>   active: 90/01/21
>   aslist: 1:568 2:19 

"nets.unl.now" presents the same information in an "unload" format:  one
network per line, with fields separated by a pipe character.  This
format is designed for easy building of tools;  it can also be loaded
directly into databases or spreadsheet programs.  "nets.doc" documents
this format, and gives examples of trivial awk scripts that can be used
to extract information from this packed representation:

>    1 - IP Number
>    2 - Prefix Length
>    3 - Net Name
>    4 - Home AS
>    5 - AUP (Acceptable Usage Policy)
>    6 - Net Country Code
>    7 - State of US (or empty field)
>    8 - Organization Type (Carnegie Code if Educational)
>    9 - Organizational Address
>   10 - Date of last modification of Org Address
>   11 - Original date of addition to NSFNET
>   12 - NSFNET (AS 690) Announcement List [Metric:AS(peer) Metric:AS ...]
>   Useful UNIX utilities:
>   To sort by field 3:                 sort -t\| +2 < nets.unl.now
>   To "grep" for only "non-US" nets:   awk -F\| '\$6!="US"' < nets.unl.now
>   To print only fields 1,3: awk -F\| '{printf "%s %s\n",$1,$3}' <nets.unl.now
>   To do all of the above:
>      sort -t\| +2 <nets.unl.now | awk -F\| '$6!="US"{printf "%s %s\n",$1,$3}'
>   6|8|YPG-NET||N|US|AZ||Army Information Systems Center, USAISC, Yuma Proving
>   Ground, Yuma, AZ 85365-9102, USA|93/02/08|90/01/21|1:568 2:19 |
>   7|8|EDN-TEMP||N|US|VA||Defense Communications, Engineering Center, 1860
>   Wiehle Avenue, Reston, VA 22090, USA|93/06/01|90/06/20|1:701 2:702 |
>   8|8|BBNCCNET||A|US|MA||Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., 70 Fawcett Street,
>   Cambridge, MA 02138, USA|93/06/15|89/06/21|2:281 3:701 |

The "Prefix Length" field is in anticipation of CIDR changes this fall.  The
Organizational Address is currently listed in a single string, which is
the way it is internally stored in the PRDB today.  Issues about parsings
of organizational addresses are being discussed as part of the Shared
Whois project--let me know if you have concerns about these kinds of

Whois Access to the Same Information

  Last March, Merit announced a set of "prdbshow" clients that can be used
to obtain realtime information (merit.edu:/pub/src/prdbshow.tar.Z).  A few
people had trouble compiling the clients, or preferred not to do so.  To
make this functionality more widely available, you can now run the prdbshow
clients through "whois":
>   merit.edu% whois -h prdb.merit.edu 'shownet 35'
>   35            1:237   2:233   3:266   4:267   5:1225
>   merit.edu% 

Of course, this slightly verbose syntax can be covered with aliases or
scripts.  We are revising our prdbshow* distribution to include as set
of two-line scripts to support this.

  Current documentation for this whole service may be obtained with the

    whois -h prdb.merit.edu help

The Futures of the Current Reports:

  Of the current reports, there were three network reports and one AS report
that had widespread usage:



We will continue supporting these reports.  (Note though that we will be
forced to change the format of these reports sometime this fall when we
move to CIDR-type net addresses.  If you modify your programs to use the
new reports now, you will be immune from these changes to the old reports).

  Some reports were not mentioned as being used by anyone.  We would like
to phase these reports out, since all this information is now available
in several more concise and convenient ways.  These reports include:



If there are no objections from this group to phasing these reports out, then
we will begin inserting messages into these reports about their coming
demise, including an email address to protest to.  After a couple of months
we would then discontinue producing these reports.

  There were a few other reports that were used by only a single
person, specifically:


I would like to work with these individuals to see if we can meet their
needs with the new access to the whois and prdbshow clients, and to the
new reports; perhaps with the help of some short custom unix scripts.

  If there are others who would like help creating custom scripts to meet
specific needs, please send me a message.  It should be very easy to write
simple scripts to extract information from the new reports.  I'd be happy
to write some of these or to help folks write them.

Dale Johnson
Network Management Systems
Merit Network, Inc.

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