Multi-session news readers

Index as: news reader connect delay ; multi-session news reader]

In order to communicate with a news server, a news reader must establish a connection to a server. Various things happen during this set up procedure, such as verifying that your machine has permission to access the news server. When Usenet was first conceived, it was not a problem if this set up delay took a long time: it only happened at the beginning of a news reading session.

Reconnect Delays
Multi-session news readers advance Usenet passed the old rules and access model by starting and stopping multiple connections to the news server as the user is reading news. This works well, except when the set up procedure takes a long time. It may appear that some delays are the fault of the news server, when they are actually due to the reconnect delay.

When does a connection get dropped?
Underlying the problem is the fact that there is no way to tell the news server to interrupt a transfer which is in progress. The only option the news reader has is to terminate the connection and start up a new one.

When Usenet articles are short, this is hardly ever an issue: the article is transferred before the user gets frustrated in waiting.

But when Usenet articles are large, (or contain graphics), the user may view a portion of the total article and decide that it is not interesting, and want to view the next article. This is not possible in a single session news reader: the transfer must complete before a new one starts. In a multi-session news reader, the connection is closed and a new one is started. But this is a reconnect delay.

How can I avoid reconnect delays?
Simple: Wait for any article you requested to arrive completely before requesting another. In this way, the news reader can re-use the already established connection.

More Detailed Topics
Usenet RKT: (coming later!)Getting help with news reader software
Usenet RKT: (coming later!)How news gets to you.

Overview and Related Topics
Usenet RKT: Trouble with news reader software
Usenet RKT: Takes a long time to receive an article

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Copyright 1997, Forrest J. Cavalier III, Mib Software, INN customization and consulting