[nos-bbs] use of SSID

Jay Nugent jjn at nuge.com
Tue Dec 12 16:59:59 EST 2006

Greetings Skip,

On Tue, 12 Dec 2006, (Skip) K8RRA wrote:

> I find that the regular practice in configuration for jnos is to equate
> service to an (arbitrary?) SSID.
> Local examples for this is the use of -1 for BBS per the book "Packet
> Radio" and -4 for BBS per mi-drg organization.
> Same service - different SSID.

   It's all about using an adopted Statewide standard versus some local
standard that some guy used when he published his book.  So which do you
use?  The standard that is in place in the geographic region in which you
live, of course!

   If you use a 'standard' other than the one recognized in your own
geographic region, then that WOULD create confusion amoungst the users.  
If every JNOS station were to use completely differnet settings, then
nobody would know what to expect.  But by using the Michigan SSID standard 
(since you live in Michigan) than you can reasonably expect that Michigan 
users will KNOW which SSID connects them to which service.

   Understand that the SSID number itself has *no* particular
significance.  It is just a number.  However, by local convention a
pattern of use has emerged.  Folks setting up their first Packet station,
usually for their home station, tend to not assign an SSID (actually it is
SSID -0).  Then when TNC's began to include built-in mini-BBS's (or
Personnal BBS -or- PBBS) it was logical they would be assigned the next
available SSID, or -1.

   Hence we have the following "standard":

   -0  home stations
   -1  home station personnal mailboxes (usually a TNC-based PBBS)
   As it happened, most of the full-service BBS's (W0RLI, Msys, FBB, etc.)  
*tended* to use the -3 SSID.  This distinguishes them as Full-Service
BBS's that participate in a coordinated network of "mail forwarding"
BBS's.  So we added this to the "standard":

   -3  Full-service BBS's (those that forward mail/bulletins)

   Then as Nodes began to appear such as NetROM, TexNet/GLnet, TCP/IP,
etc., these were multi-ported and has some mechanism to perform "routing",
we added this to the "standard":

   -4  network nodes (having two or more radio ports that perform routing 
                      functions via TCP/IP, NetROM, etc.  Can be combined 
                      with BBS's that also perform routing)

   As the Packet networks grew and the BBS forwarding traffic congested
our circuits, the keyboard-to-keyboard guys wanted a distinct SSID that
identified them as Keyboard stations.  If you were to connect to any
'callsign-5' you should expect to NOT receive any connect banner and 
anything you type will either go to his glass TTY or to a printer.  So we 
added this to the "standard":

    -5  console/keyboard -or- printer

   Along came additional features such as Conference bridges, KA-Nodes, 
cross-band digipeaters, etc. so these were also added to the "standard":

    -6  conference bridges
    -7  cross-band digipeaters (and KA-nodes)
    -8  cross-band digipeaters
    -9  mobile / modats

   And finally the Winlink guys needed an SSID that identified their 
TelPac nodes, so this was added to the "standard":

   -10  WL2K

   So..... now you've seen some of the history and reasoning behind 
Michigan's selection of SSID assignments.  As always, not everyone follows 
the standards and goes their own way.  This is inevitable.  But we hope 
that the majority of stations and nodes participating in the networks 
within Michigan will follow the "SSID Standards" as closely as possible.

> I find from experimentation that all services may be offered on a single

   You did???  I suspect these tests were flawed in some way.

> My experiment may be faulty without my knowledge, but my use of -1 for
> all services and ports seems healthy to date.
> This seems to this writer to be as it "should be"...

   If you set all the call/SSIDs the same, you will get dropped to the BBS
prompt and not go directly to the desired service.

   So per the Michigan convention for setting up the SSID's on a JNOS box 
we have:

ax25 alias YPSI
ax25 bbs WB8TKL-3
ax25 mycall WB8TKL-4
ax25 ttycall WB8TKL-5
convers mycall WB8TKL-6

   And you say you have succesfully set ALL these services to an SSID of 
-1.  Let me ask how you connect to the TTYLINK console port without -5?  
And how do you connect directly to the CONVerse bridge without -6?  

   Granted, the -3/BBS and -4/Node *look* the same.  But the difference is
whether you can get a connection *without* the burden of the MOTD banner
and Alphabet-Soup prompt.  This allows a Node to send his routing command
without wasting bandwidth waiting for the MOTD and Alphabet-Soup text.
Not a biggie unless you happen to be a Full-Service BBS performing mail 
forwarding and want to get the traffic through as quickly as possible.

> Also it seems that using SSID to segregate service (or port) introduces
> complication without benefit.

   Little complication.  MOST users will simply connect to your ALIAS or 
to your -3/BBS call.  But the more advanced users will take advantage of 
the efficiency of using -5/TTY and -6/CONV.  But if you want to save the 
SSID's, simply don't configure them and let you users use the "O"perator 
and "CONV"erse commands from the Alphabet-Soup line.  

> So I turn to this community for help, and I pose the questions:
> Is there a benefit to configure multiple SSIDs for a single instance of
> jnos?

   YES! As described above.

> Is there a compelling reason to continue the practice of multiple SSIDs
> in setting up one station?

   Only if you wish to segregate those services.  Otherwise just connect 
to the BBS call/ssid and select the desired service you wish to use from 
the Alphabet-Soup command prompt (i.e. Connect, CONVerse, etc.).

   Hope this has helped to shed some light on the subject.

      --- Jay  WB8TKL
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