Extras – Q&A: Is Telnet a Bandwidth Hog?

Q&A

Is Telnet a Bandwidth Hog?

(Posted January 15, 1998; Archived February 15, 1998)

Question

Our firm is having difficulties with WEXIS access via telnet. One of the technical representatives told me that part of the problem is that telnet is a bandwidth hog. Is that true?

Answer

Jim Euliano
Supervisor, Network and Systems
University of Orlando

Telnet (or any stable connection for that matter) uses a very small amount of bandwidth to maintain a constant connection. But when the connection is idle, it doesn’t really use all that much at all. In fact, it is my understanding that telnet connections used less bandwidth (in the long run) then an http connection because when you want to request information, you are already connected and don’t have to wait for the connection process to take place between your client and the server. Westlaw and Lexis are still too slow though.

Personally, I’d suggest that LEXIS and Westlaw get more lines from different ISP (ie., Digex, PSI, etc., etc., etc.) so that when Sprint or MCI have problems, the whole service doesn’t crash and burn. I heard last week that Sprint in Atlanta died (again) when one of their primary routers decided to stop routing. These things happen and only a network with multiple ISP’s will be safe against bandwidth crashes when a primary route like this goes down.

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