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MIT Offers Low-Cost Tether Alternatives

I read with dismay the letter by David H. Levy G, regarding MIT's modem Internet access ["MIT Tether System Falls Short," Nov. 5]. While Tether may be an inexcusably bad example of the way in which MIT provides modem Internet PPP access, there exists a friendlier, lower-cost alternative.

MIT provides free Internet Ultrix shell accounts by modem, which can be obtained by calling x8-7096 or by entering "athena" at the an Athena prompt. Speed is, of course, limited to modem speed and is only 14.4 kbps for the moment, but performance on the server is roughly equivalent to dialup network connections using Ethernet cards and Resnet. PPP access can be easily obtained by obtaining a copy of Slirp 1.0, which can be downloaded for free from a variety of World Wide Web and FTP sites. Athena also has Winsock support for running Netscape and other Internet applications.

Yes, modem PPP access isn't easy, nor is it very widely known (though OLC has it in its stock answers file). But it's nowhere as difficult as Levy makes it out to be.

Wesley S. Chao '00