PACKET RADIO: Network Node Commands


(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin

board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)


From: Steve, NO8M@NO8M.OH.USA.NA

Date: January 5, 1990

Subject: Commands Used in Network Nodes

There are many types of network nodes. Most commands act the same way

in all of them. It is suggested that the file NETNODE.HLP be read first (D

PACKET\NETNODE.HLP). This file deals with the commands used in network nodes.

BBS (MSYS Nodes only)

This command allows a connection to the PBBS associated with the node.


You can connect to other stations or nodes, even to other stations using

digipeaters, using this command. Alias names or callsigns may be used.

On MSYS Nodes, when connecting to a station other than another node, you

must also give a port number. This number is found using the PORT command.

CQ (Only on NET/ROM and NET)

If enabled, you can call CQ through a node. To do this you type the

command and a short string, like this:

"CQ from NO8M, North Olmsted, OH"

The node would retransmit your CQ and enter your callsign into the user

table. Another station might check the users command, find you in it and

connect to your station. There is no need to rebroadcast the CQ. You will

remain in the users table for fifteen minutes.


The ident gives you the alias and callsign of the node you are connected

to. For example, if you were connected to CLE220, you could "IDENT CLE220".

The node would reply, "CLE220:K8EIW-9] CLE220".

If you have no idea where you are, you can use the generic "IDENT *" to

return the information.


The NODES command responds with a table of all the destination network

nodes that are known. Each node listing contains the path quality to the

node, the number of hours it has been heard in a row, the port number and the

callsign. If the path quality is low, attempting a connect to the node is

difficult. Start with the path quality figure when seeking a path to some

distant location. The path quality is defined between 0 (worst) and 256

(best). Here is a chart which shows the qualities of various ideal circuits.

Channel Description Quality % Perfect
9600 baud wire (2 port) 255 99%+
9600 baud satellite (2 port) 252 98%
9600 baud wire (3 port) 248 97%
9600 baud radio internode backbone 240 94%
1200 baud radio internode backbone 224 88%
1200 baud radio user channel 192 75%
300 baud radio HF channel 128 50%

There are a number of variations of the NODE command:

NODES * -- This command lists both the destination and hidden nodes.

Hidden nodes are not destinations and are not listed with a simple

NODES command. They are nodes used in the transport of your

packet to another destination. That is why they are hidden. A

set of nodes that operate at high speed solely for the purpose of

transporting information from destination to destination is called

a backbone. The hidden nodes are normally backbone nodes that are

not accessible to the users, they are accessible only to other

backbone nodes.

NODES nodename -- This command gives specific routing information on a

particular node. For example, using "NODES CMH", you might

receive this response:

Routes to CMH:K1LT-1

126 6 1 K8EIW-8

92 4 1 WA8BXN-2

PARMS (NET/ROM and The NET only)

This command allows the user to see how the node is set up. You get a

string of 26 numbers in reply:

# Description Default Min Max
1 Max # of destinations in the node list 50 1 400
2 Quality needed for a update of a destination 1 0 (off) 255
3 Channel 0 quality (radio) 192 0 (off) 255
4 Channel 1 quality (RS-232 wired to other node) 255 0 (off) 255
5 Obsolescence count initializer (first used) 6 0 255
6 Obsolescence needed for route to be broadcast 5 1 255
7 Auto update broadcast-broadcast of known nodes 3600 0 65535
8 Network time-to-live initializer 64 0 255
9 Transport time-out (frack) in seconds 60 5 600
10 Transport maximum tries 3 2 127
11 Transport ack delay (seconds) 3 1 60
12 Transport busy delay (seconds) 180 1 1000
13 Transport requested window size (# frames) 4 1 127
14 Congestion control threshold (# frames) 4 1 127
15 No-activity timeout timer (seconds) 900 0 65535
16 Key up P-persistence threshold (P/256) 64 0 255
17 Key up slot time (10ms increments) 10 0 127
18 Link T1 timeout (frack in seconds) 4 1 15
19 Link T1 window size (maxframes) 7 1 7
20 Link maximum tries (0=forever) 10 0 127
21 Link T2 timeout (10ms increments) 100 0 6000
22 Link T3 timeout (10ms increments) 18000 0 65535
23 AX.25 digipeating (1=enabled 0= disabled) 1 0 1
24 Validate callsigns (1=enabled 0=disabled) 1 0 1
25 Station ID beacons (2=on 1=active 0=off) 2 0 2
26 CQ broadcasts (1=enabled 0=disabled) 1 0 1


This is used to determine the port assignments in MSYS nodes.


This command returns information about who the node can directly talk

to. For example, if you were connected to the CLE220 node a ROUTES command

might give you the following information:

CLE220:K8EIW-9} Routes:

> 1 K8EIW-7 241 64 !

> 1 K8EIW-8 250 70 !

0 K8EIW-5 195 10 !

0 KA8TEF-3 181 0 !

0 WA8BXN-2 240 10 !

0 NO8M-2 192 4 !

> 1 WB8BII-9 192 38 !

This means that CLE220 can talk directly to the nodes listed. To get

their alias rather than the callsign, use the "N callsign" command. In a

route list, the following may appear:

- ">" if an active crosslink exists to this neighbor

- port number (for NET-0=radio 1=wired)

- path to this neighbor (callsigns and digis)

- path quality (255=best 0=worst)

- number of routes from this neighbor

- "!" if this neighbor is locked. This means the path quality is set

by the node sysop and does not change. (Used in NETROM & NET)

MSYS has a different routing output but the same basic information is

still there.

TALK (MSYS Nodes Only)

Allows a connect to the local keyboard, if it is enabled.


This command gives a summary of who is using the node. The active

circuits and links are described using the following format:

UPLINK (a connection from a user to a node)

from call

DOWNLINK (a connection from the nodes to a destination)

from call to call

CIRCUIT (a connection between two nodes)

node and usercall

CQ usercall

HOST (a local connection to the node, a sysop use)


Overall, watch the path quality when making a decision about where to go

in the nodelists.

As always, don't hesitate to leave a message to the callsign of the

board for help in using the system.

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