[bit.listserv.infonets] Soviet network connections

MJSAAREL%MTUS5.BITNET@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU (Markku Saarelainen) (02/07/90)

     Interesting stuff

     Markku Saarelainen
----------------------------Original message----------------------------


It  turns  out  that  the  Soviets  have  not  only a working
packet-switching network, but also an electronic  mail  and
computer conferencing system up and running  Moscow.  The
Institute  for   Advanced   Systems   (Moscow),   which
specializing  the  development  of  networking systems for
the Communist Bloc countries, just recently startes operating
the Adomis conferencing system and the Electronic  Mailing
System  for  the  benefit  of  about  300  university
academics and scientists.

Expansionist Agenda:
Over  the  next  year,  IAS-Net  will expand its client base
even further into public programs and academia,  as  well  as
into the spheres of international trade and banking, according
to spokesman Vladimir Sergeut. He said one of the primary
thrusts for the institute will be  to  interconnect  the
system  with other packet nets around the world.

One of the first Western systems to take advantage of the new
openness of IAS-Net  is  Telenet  Communications  (Reston,
VA).  It is using an international satellite channel suplied
by Western Union Worldcom to link an IAS-Net node in Moscow
with a Telenet node in  New York. Through this facility,
attached hosts in either country can now call each other  at
speeds  up  to  9600  bits  per second.

The  New  York-to-Moscow  billing  rate  will  be  about $10
an hour and $12 a kilosegment, about average for Telenet
servcies abroad. The Moscow-to-New York rate will be .25
rubles per minute  and .45 rubles per kilocharacter in Soviet
money, slightly less than the going  rate  from  most  foreign
locations  (10 rubles  is  about  6 US dollars). However, IAS-
Net bills for outbound usage by foreigners must be paid in
hard currency, such as U.S. dollars.

The new two-way capability  replaces  an  inefficient one-way
link that soviet scientists have used for years to reach
Telenet hosts. "For several years,  we have been aware of
users in the Soviet Union dialing into Telenet via links in
Finland  and Austria", he said. "Customers were dialing up
(Datapak in Finland or Radaus in Austria) and appearing  to
us as their subscribers." It was only through informal
conversations with users and PTTs that Telenet  became  aware
of the traffic, because it has no dealings at all in the

Dialing  up  Finland  from Moscow is an expensive and
inefficient proposition, even on a good day. Several years
ago, Soviet data network users were able to convince to the
USSR Telecommunications Administration to install a  dedicated
line  to  a  Datapak  in  Finland,  eliminating  some of the
dialing problems. However, the link could operate only  on  an
outbound basis, since the Soviets had no Data Network
Idenfication Code (DNIC) to give people trying to dial in.

Now they have an X.25 packet network that features the  X.3,
X.28,  and  X.29 protocols  for  connection to external PADs
as well as asynchronous dial up at speeds of 300, 1200, and
2400  bps.  Dedicated line connections are available within
Moscow  at  synchronous  rates  of  2400,  4800,  and  9600
bps.  Most surprisingly,  IAS-Net  has  a  full X.75 gateway
capability, which means that their packet network  can  be
fully  interconnected  with any other country's system.

Cahill added that any link between the new Soviet e-mail
system  and  Telemail would  require  X.400  on their end, a
capability they presently lack. For the moment, he said that
Telemail users  will  have  a cleaner access path it they need
to reach their mailboxes from the Soviet Union.

Sergeut was full of surprises. "Telemail  is  only  one  of
about  20  e-mail systems  that we use", he said. Among the
American public systems, "we use The Source and Dialcom, too."
Did he perhaps mean the Dialcom license in  Finland? "No, we
don't use Telebox. We use Dialcom."

Dialcom Users in Russia?

Dialcom spokesman David Burd  was  able  to  verify that
Soviet scientists and doctors are indeed customers. Access is
open to anybody who can  pay  for  the service.  However,  he
was  unsure  as to the packet network they used, since Dialcom
hosts are  reachable  on  both  Telenet  and  Tymnet. Dialcom
does not contemplate a formal business relationship with the
Soviets, however,  because there is not yet any assurance of
any appreciable demand.

There's  also  an  outside  chance  that  Soviet  users have
been logging into CompuServe either directly or through
Telenet, also Sergeut did not recognize the name. He also did
not recall the names Minitel, Telecom Gold, MCI Mail, or
Easylink, although he was careful to say that he  was  not
the  authority  on which  systems  IAS  did and didn't use. He
knows the names Telemail, Dialcom, and The Source through his
own personal usage.

Such usage is surprising, but by no means illegal. None of the
e-mail networks require loyality oaths before subscriptions
are issued. What's more important is that foreign users,
whether communist or capitalist, pay  their  bills.  As for
security,  the  expectation  of  privacy  on  the  IAS-to-
Telenet link is obviously low, as it would be for  people
going through  Customs. As with any telephone call from
Moscow, chances are the KGB might tune it at any time. And as
has been routine for decades with international telex in the
U.S.,  someone in  Langley,  VA  is  probably  perusing the
text, watching for people who use certain words too often.

(Zitat Ende)