Undernet Routing Committee

Undernet Routing Committee

Information for Applicants

Revised: 20091027

This document is intended to give general information on the procedures used in the submission and review of applications for link to the Undernet IRC Network. You MUST read this information entirely before submitting your application. If you are missing any requested information on your application, it WILL be rejected automatically. It is highly suggested that you also read the Technical Requirements document as there are some items there which will affect the application process as well.

How to submit your application

Visit the Routing-Com Web Page (http://routing-com.undernet.org/) and complete the automated newlinks application. This interface will guide the applicant step-by-step through the application ensuring that all required information is filled out (although not necessarily correctly or accurately). This facilitates processing by allowing the committee secretary to verify that the application is completed fully prior to releasing it to the routing-com list (and subsequently to the committee itself). This automated form interacts directly with the online database, and provided the application is completed fully, the database will be updated within 12 hours of receipt. A copy of your application will be sent to you when you submit the application. NOTE: Applications will ONLY be accepted from a responsible person from the hosting company. All applications not emanating from the hosting company will be declined.

When submitting the application, please make sure that all the requested information is fully and accurately completed. Examples of errors which may delay processing include:
  • Application not emanating from the hosting company.
  • Reliability information stating simply "99% of the time up"
  • Missing O/S and hardware information
  • Missing authorization from the site admin for location of the server. (see below)
  • Missing email address, real name, contact information for either the admin or the applicant.
  • Missing or invalid NOC contact. (This must be the contact of the HOSTING site's ASN - with NIC handle. NIC contact for the 'domain' is NOT necessarily the contact for the SITE.)
  • Missing or inaccurate information on the site Uplink/connection information (eg. DS3 through CAIS and 10mbps via CWIX.. etc)
  • Mismatched AS Number to IP block. Note that the system will check the IP block in the RADB worldwide routing registry to ensure that the IP netblock is sourced from the correct ASN. If the netblock is not listed in the RADB worldwide registry, or is either missing an origin ASN or shows a different ASN to that specified, the application will be rejected.

Please do NOT submit an application for a site either using a dynamic IP address (don't laugh, I received one yesterday), or your link does not consist of a MINIMUM of MULTIPLE E1/T1 to SEPARATE providers. Single-homed 10mbps or higher speeds may apply, however. Only sites with a total aggregate transit bandwidth greater than 5Mbps will be considered. For the purposes of this application, transit is definied as globally accessible bandwidth. Some sites have split bandwidth with, for example, 100Mbps domestic (in country), and 2Mbps international. In this case, transit is the international bandwidth. Local or domestic bandwidth, as well as the bandwidth of any ethernet segments between the physical server and the first gateway point are NOT counted. If you are on a single or dual T1/E1, your server will not be considered for link. Additionally links which are on a "Cablemodem" or "Cable to Lan Bridge" will NOT be considered. Your server MUST be configured to handle a MINIMUM of 4000 clients (thus an appropriate number of file descriptors is required per process in the kernel configuration). The only ircd accptable for use on the Undernet is the Undernet ircu2.10.xx which is the current release software. Although a windows NT port of the software has been written, windows NT servers will NOT be permitted to link to the live network. The NT-based server version was written as a proof of concept experiment, and not meant for production servers on the Undernet. It also goes to reason that such software as Conference Room, and other chat servers will not be permitted. (the ONLY exception being RCSD which is being used on the network by the RCSD creators, and not as a general rule.)

We will NOT accept applications from sites, such as phix.com, which sell "ircd accounts" as virtual hosts or vmware virtual machines on a server, for the purpose of running irc servers, or sites which are nothing more than virtual web hosting sites. The majority of sites which are linked behind verio.net are in this category. All proposed undernet servers must be DEDICATED IRC servers, with the machine running on the one network. Additionally, NO other services should be running on the machine (httpd, telnet, ftpd, etc. Inetd must be disabled.) Excessive virtual hosts must not be run on the server. Note also that we currently do not accept applications for virtual servers (vps) irrespective of hypervisor technology (xen, vmware, etc.). We may review this policy at a later date, but this is the case currently... sorry.

EITHER administrator or the admin-representative of the proposed server must be a representative of the hosting company, and must have 'root' access to the machine. At least one member of the server's administration team must have physical access to the server hardware.

The Undernet does not accept applications from shell providers or 'managed' colocation providers who rent a server to an individual, unless the provisions on access and administration are respected, and the application is made by that hosting company.

Applications will only be considered from sites, locations, or countries, from which there is sufficient active userbase to justify a server in that location and a shortage of reachable servers in that network location.

All applications are now REQUIRED to have SITE administrative contact information and permission; This is the individual or group responsible for the maintenance of the netblock and bandwidth applicable to the server. (In many cases, this is the ISP, but may actually be the next upstream ISP in some cases...) The site admins will be contacted about your application to ensure that they know of and agree to your application. Contact information must be the contact for the SITE (autonomous system) and NOT the DOMAIN contact or the IP delegation contact. The relevant network, autonomous system, and administrative contact information must be updated in the Internet's RADB routing registry database before the application can proceed. Note that if this information is not up to date or not present, the application will be rejected. Note: The ASN contact will ALWAYS be the primary contact used when checking the application.

Also, please look at the other servers existing on the network. If a server already exists in a (net) location, although the application may be held/saved for future reference, chances are that a link will not initially be granted. This is especially true for servers which are on the same local network as an existing undernet server (for example, a customer of one of the existing sponsors who has their uplink through that sponsor). The committee members are sensitive to applications from competitors in their area, and will abstain from voting on a server which comes from one of their major competitors in that area. (no, not all the committee members will abstain at the same time...) Additionally, if a site submits an application, and the site's uplink has previously submitted an application which was declined, then that site's application will ALSO be declined. If your site is downstream from a current existing Undernet server, then your application will be declined under most circumstances. (example: If you have a DS3 to Cais.Net, then your application will be declined as Cais.Net already host a server which will automatically be in a better net position to your own. The main exception is if you can offer substantial multi-homed connectivity through a different provider.)

Once your application is received by the database system, it will be archived until the next application review. These reviews occur at intervals (approximately every 2 weeks under the current committee) unless other circumstances or committee business dictate a longer period to elapse. The Routing Committee is in recess over major holiday periods, such as Christmas/Yule/Hannukah, NewYears, etc. Applications are archived after they have been checked for completeness. If there are any problems with the application, either the secretary or a member of the committee (or indeed a member of the public mailing list) will inform the applicant of the problem and include information on how to fix that problem. If you submit an application, and subsequently do not hear anything for a few days, then that is an indication that your application has been archived and is pending the next review period. All applications which are received prior to two days before the review will be included in that review. Otherwise, they will be rolled over to the next review. The database system will notify the applicant of a received application when it has been added to the database.

Please do not email the secretary or this list asking "when is my application going to be reviewed". This is both unnecessary, and wastes the time of the members and the secretary. You can view your application status on the Routing Committee website by querying the DATABASE.

Please (please please) do NOT email or /msg the secretary or the committee members online to say "can you put in a good word for me?" or "do you think I have a good chance". The secretary is not a voting member of the committee and therefore can not do either of those requests. The members of the committee are also very busy individuals in their own rights, and do not have time to reveiw applications on the fly at the request of the applicant just to answer a "do I have a chance" type question.

If you feel the need to ask the Secretary or the Routing Committee Members how to perform basic configuration of your server, or other basic tasks involved with the administration of an IRC server, then you should consider seriously whether you are qualified to run an Undernet server. While we do not require technical expertise, we do require some basic competence of all server admins, which include competence with compilation and configuration of your server, and basic unix system operation and or administration.

There are many misconceptions about the type of material that is considered in the review. Bear in mind, that applications are considered against the other applications on hand, therefore all must be evaluated before a decision is reached. Decisions are not based merely on what kind of network connection the site has. This is the biggest misconception. The committee has in the past declined applications from sites on faster links than some of the existing servers for various reasons. Other items that are considered are the internet routing to/from that site, bandwidth utilization (e.g. a DS-3 with a utilization of 43.3mbps average [approx 99%] can not offer the network what a 10Mbps connection with a total usage of only 1% can.), the administration, abuse potential (in the case of large providers, we must consider items like 'how responsive is this provider in dealing with abusers from their site?'). This list is not exhaustive or complete by any means, but is intended to give you an indication of what is considered.

Once the applications have been reviewed, one of two things will happen. This depends on the number of applications being reviewed for that period. Either:
  1. Applications which show potential will be short-listed and re-reviewed a short time later.
  2. An immediate vote will be taken of all the applicants in that review period.

In the case of the former of these two options, all of the applicants who have been shortlisted will be notified that they are pending a second review. All the remaining applicants will be notified that we were unable to offer a testlink at this time. Under a new procedure in place, applicants who are declined a testlink may request reasons for the decline from the secretary and will be offered other ideas on how to contribute to the success of the Undernet. Please not, however, that the Committee members are NOT obligated to give reasons for a "NO" vote. If reasons are given at the time of the vote, they will be noted by the secretary. There is nothing to stop any declined server from reapplying at a later date.

In the case of the latter option, all applicants will be notified of the results of the vote.

Any applicants who are accepted for a testlink will be contacted by the Committee Secretary who will request any further information needed to facilitate the pending link. The secretary will coordinate with the Undernet Administrative body and with other elements (such as DNS) in setting up the link, on the applicant's behalf. Full and prompt cooperation at this time is expected to facilitate the applicant's link to the Undernet. The secretary will put the new server administrator in contact with the Hub server admins to arrange connection information.

NOTE: Applicants who are notifed of acceptance for a testlink, are given a period of 14 days to respond to the notification indicating that they still wish to link, and to provide any further information requested at that time. Any applicant (or their representative) who fails to respond to this notification within 14 days, will result in a withdrawal of testlink offer. Should this happen, the applicant must re-apply and follow this whole procedure again.

ALL APPLICATIONS which do not originate from a SITE administrator (this must be the technical person responsible for the HOSTING site!) or their official representative MUST be accompanied by a verifyable emailed statement from that site administration indicating that they approve the operation of an Undernet IRC Server from their network and are fully aware of any bandwidth utilization or other usage statistics that such a link, if granted, would incur. This authorization must include a valid email address and telephone number of the site administrator(s). It must be emailed FROM that individual, and must be verifyable. Such authorization may be verified by the routing committee by any number of methods, including, but not limited to:
  • PGP Signature / Public Key
  • Telephonic Confirmation
  • Email confirmation

After a new server has connected to the network, it will undergo a testlink period of anywhere between 30 to 60 days, during which time, the committee will evaluate its performance on the live net. After this testlink period, a vote will be conducted to determine if that server will be granted FULL link to the Undernet. While in testlink status, the server must adhere strictly to the instructions of the Undernet Aministrative body. Further, the server's administrator(s), although will be members of the Network administrative body, will not have voting rights while in testlink status. (More information on the administrative policies will be sent to all new server administrators prior to their link to the Undernet). If the committee's review of that server deems it necessary to delink that server from the network, the administration of that server will be notified and arrangements will be made to effect the delink.

The Undernet welcomes individuals or groups who wish to contribute to the success of the network. This does not exclusively mean server links. There are only a limited number of servers which may be linked to the Undernet at any time. There are other ways that people are invited to assist the Undernet. For more information on some of these, please visit the Undernet Website at http://www.undernet.org/ . Here you will find numerous committees and other groups who are all active towards the goal of making the Undernet the best IRC Network.

Note: Any Undernet server which is discovered to have been linked because the hosting company was "spammed" or in some other way influenced to apply by a third party will be terminated and delinked. In this way the hosting company bears the responsibility for the server and understands the full implications of running a server.

Undernet Routing Committee


Recently, Undernet has received reports that a non-affiliated person has been sending out requests to large numbers of network & hosting providers asking for sponsorship of resources to link a server to our network.

We do not have full visibility of where all these requests have been sent but understand they likely come from either the name Nikolaos Kostopoulos (GMail) or Alex Koukoulas (admin@underlab.org)
-- both the same individual.

Please be advised that is person is not currently, and never has been, an official representative of Undernet. He is not acting on our behalf and his e-mails has been misrepresenting us and providing misleading & incorrect information.

If you have received one of these requests from him, please let us know at r-com@undernet.org and disregard the request.

We appreciate your help and we apologize if his requests caused any undue hardship.

Undernet Routing Committee

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