Becoming an Internet Service Provider

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by Rob Kolstad, Berkeley Software Design, Inc.
Becoming an Internet Service Provider is not a mysterious or difficult process. This document outlines the steps necessary.

For a topic that has seen so much hype of late, it is amazing how little is explained about what the Internet is and how one leverages it. This white paper gives a brief explanation of the Internet, services it provides, and how new `Internet Service Providers' start up their operation.
This article is written as an overview. It is not intended to be 100% complete (that would take an entire book!). Finally, it is written from the biased point of view of someone who does not wish to spend tens of thousands of dollars to start such a service. This bias extends to the occasional emphasis on BSDI's products.
The Internet: A Brief Overview
The formal definition of the Internet says ``The Internet is a network that connects thousands of other computer networks''. This does not seem to be particularly helpful in understanding what's really going on.
Computer networks became practical when Ethernet and the Berkeley 4.1 follow-on releases of the Berkeley BSD UNIX system started becoming widely available back in the 1982 timeframe. These `Local Area Networks' (LANs) typically spanned an area smaller than a couple square miles. Some hardware existed to connect these LANs to extend the area slightly, but not on a nation-wide scale........

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