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Telnet is an old protocol that with ssh available probably outlived its usefulness. Still it is widely used.
Currently Teraterm is probably the best client for Windows environment. It one of the few that understands middle mouse button and have some macro capabilities. The product has non-intuitive configuration and there is no history of visited sites. but generally functionality is very good. See special page devoted to it.
Please note that many poor soils reinvent the bicycle in a form of yet another macro language for terminal emulation. Expect is a more universal and often more powerful way of doing the same that frees you from the dependency of somebody design mistakes and the luck of understanding of compiler/interpreter technology .
The telnet command is occasionally used to automate connections to systems in situations in which the rlogin and rsh commands cannot be used. Automating a telnet connection requires the script to pass the login, password, and command to the telnet command to execute. The following is a Korn shell script fragment that automates the telnet session:
( sleep 2 echo login^M sleep 2 echo password^M sleep 2 echo command^M sleep 2 ) | telnet hostname
The Telnet protocol is often thought of as simply providing a facility for remote logins to computer via the Internet. This was its original purpose although it can be used for many other purposes.
It is best understood in the context of a user with a simple terminal using the local telnet program (known as the client program) to run a login session on a remote computer where his communications needs are handled by a telnet server program. It should be emphasized that the telnet server can pass on the data it has received from the client to many other types of process including a remote login server. It is described in RFC854 and was first published in 1983.
Communication is established using the TCP/IP protocols and communication is based on a set of facilities known as a Network Virtual Terminal (NVT). At the user or client end the telnet client program is responsible for mapping incoming NVT codes to the actual codes needed to operate the user's display device and is also responsible for mapping user generated keyboard sequences into NVT sequences.
The NVT uses 7 bit codes for characters, the display device, referred to as a printer in the RFC, is only required to display the "standard" printing ASCII characters represented by 7 bit codes and to recognise and process certain control codes. The 7 bit characters are transmitted as 8 bit bytes with most significant bit set to zero. An end-of-line is transmitted as the character sequence CR (carriage return) followed by LF (line feed). If it is desired to transmit an actual carriage return this is transmitted as a carriage return followed by a NUL (all bits zero) character.
NVT ASCII is used by many other Internet protocols.
The following control codes are required to be understood by the Network Virtual Terminal.
|Line Feed||LF||10||Moves the printer to the next print line, keeping the same horizontal position.|
|Carriage Return||CR||13||Moves the printer to the left margin of the current line.|
The following further control codes are optional but should have the indicated defined effect on the display.
|BELL||BEL||7||Produces an audible or visible signal (which does NOT move the print head.|
|Back Space||BS||8||Moves the print head one character position towards the left margin. [On a printing devices this mechanism was commonly used to form composite characters by printing two basic characters on top of each other.]|
|Horizontal Tab||HT||9||Moves the printer to the next horizontal tab stop. It remains unspecified how either party determines or establishes where such tab stops are located.|
|Vertical Tab||VT||11||Moves the printer to the next vertical tab stop. It remains unspecified how either party determines or establishes where such tab stops are located.|
|Form Feed||FF||12||Moves the printer to the top of the next page, keeping the same horizontal position. [On visual displays this commonly clears the screen and moves the cursor to the top left corner.]|
The NVT keyboard is specified as being capable of generating all 128 ASCII codes by using keys, key combinations or key sequences.
The telnet protocol also specifies various commands that control the method and various details of the interaction between the client and server. These commands are incorporated within the data stream. The commands are distinguished by the use of various characters with the most significant bit set. Commands are always introduced by a character with the decimal code 255 known as an Interpret as command (IAC) character. The complete set of special characters is
|SE||240||End of subnegotiation parameters.|
|DM||242||Data mark. Indicates the position of a Synch event within the data stream. This should always be accompanied by a TCP urgent notification.|
|BRK||243||Break. Indicates that the "break" or "attention" key was hit.|
|IP||244||Suspend, interrupt or abort the process to which the NVT is connected.|
|AO||245||Abort output. Allows the current process to run to completion but do not send its output to the user.|
|AYT||246||Are you there. Send back to the NVT some visible evidence that the AYT was received.|
|EC||247||Erase character. The receiver should delete the last preceding undeleted character from the data stream.|
|EL||248||Erase line. Delete characters from the data stream back to but not including the previous CRLF.|
|GA||249||Go ahead. Used, under certain circumstances, to tell the other end that it can transmit.|
|SB||250||Subnegotiation of the indicated option follows.|
|WILL||251||Indicates the desire to begin performing, or confirmation that you are now performing, the indicated option.|
|WONT||252||Indicates the refusal to perform, or continue performing, the indicated option.|
|DO||253||Indicates the request that the other party perform, or confirmation that you are expecting the other party to perform, the indicated option.|
|DONT||254||Indicates the demand that the other party stop performing, or confirmation that you are no longer expecting the other party to perform, the indicated option.|
|IAC||255||Interpret as command|
There are a variety of options that can be negotiated between a telnet client and server using commands at any stage during the connection. They are described in detail in separate RFCs. The following are the most important.
|3||suppress go ahead||858|
|33||remote flow control||1372|
Options are agreed by a process of negotiation which results in the client and server having a common view of various extra capabilities that affect the interchange and the operation of applications.
Either end of a telnet dialogue can enable or disable an option either locally or remotely. The initiator sends a 3 byte command of the form
IAC,<type of operation>,<option>
The following patterns of option negotiation are defined.
|Sender Sent||Receiver Responds||Implication|
|WILL||DO||The sender would like to use a certain option if the receiver can handle it. The receiver says it can support the option. Option is now in effect|
|WILL||DONT||The sender would like to use a certain option if the receiver can handle it. The receiver says it cannot support the option. Option is not in effect.|
|DO||WILL||The sender requests that the receiver use a certain option. The receiver says it can support the option. Option is now in effect.|
|DO||WONT||The sender requests that the receiver use a certain option. The receiver says it cannot support the option. Option is not in effect.|
|WONT||DONT||The sender will not use a certain option. Option disabled. DONT is only valid response.|
|DONT||WONT||The sender requests that the receiver does not use a certain option. Option disabled. WONT is only valid response.|
For example if the sender wants the other end to suppress go-ahead it would send the byte sequence
255(IAC),251(WILL),3The final byte of the three byte sequence identifies the required action.
For some of the negotiable options values need to be communicated once support of the option has been agreed. This is done using sub-option negotiation. Values are communicated via an exchange of value query commands and responses in the following form.
IAC,SB,<option code number>,1,IAC,SE
For example if the client wishes to identify the terminal type to the server the following exchange might take place
Client 255(IAC),251(WILL),24 Server 255(IAC),253(DO),24 Server 255(IAC),250(SB),24,1,255(IAC),240(SE) Client 255(IAC),250(SB),24,0,'V','T','2','2','0',255(IAC),240(SE)The first exchange establishes that terminal type (option number 24) will be handled, the server then enquires of the client what value it wishes to associate with the terminal type. The sequence SB,24,1 implies sub-option negotiation for option type 24, value required (1). The IAC,SE sequence indicates the end of this request. The repsonse IAC,SB,24,0,'V'... implies sub-option negotiation for option type 24, value supplied (0), the IAC,SE sequence indicates the end of the response (and the supplied value).
The encoding of the value is specific to the option but a sequence of characters, as shown above, is common.
Many of those listed are self-evident, but some call for more comments.
The original telnet implementation defaulted to "half duplex" operation. This means that data traffic could only go in one direction at a time and specific action is required to indicate the end of traffic in one direction and that traffic may now start in the other direction. [This similar to the use of "roger" and "over" by amateur and CB radio operators.] The specific action is the inclusion of a GA character in the data stream.
Modern links normally allow bi-directional operation and the "suppress go ahead" option is enabled.
The echo option is enabled, usually by the server, to indicate that the server will echo every character it receives. A combination of "suppress go ahead" and "echo" is called character at a time mode meaning that each character is separately transmitted and echoed.
There is an understanding known as kludge line mode which means that if either "suppress go ahead" or "echo" is enabled but not both then telnet operates in line at a time mode meaning that complete lines are assembled at each end and transmitted in one "go".
This option replaces and supersedes the line mode kludge.
This option controls where the special flow control effects of Ctrl-S/Ctrl-Q are implemented.
The telnet protocol includes a number of control functions. These are initiated in response to conditions detected by the client (usually certain special keys or key combinations) or server. The detected condition causes a special character to be incorporated in the data stream.
This is used by the client to cause the suspension or termination of the server process. Typically the user types Ctrl-C on the keyboard. An IP (244) character is included in the data stream.
This is used to suppress the transmission of remote process output. An AO (238) character is included in the data stream.
This is used to trigger a visible response from the other end to confirm the operation of the link and the remote process. An AYT (246) character is incorporated in the data stream.
Sent to the display to tell it to delete the immediately preceding character from the display. An EC (247) character is incorporated in the data stream.
Causes the deletion of the current line of input. An EL (248) character is incorporated in the data stream.
Some control functions such as AO and IP require immediate action and this may cause difficulties if data is held in buffers awaiting input requests from a (possibly misbehaving) remote process. To overcome this problem a DM (242) character is sent in a TCP Urgent segment, this tells the receiver to examine the data stream for "interesting" characters such as IP, AO and AYT. This is known as the telnet synch mechanism.
A DM not in a TCP Urgent segment has no effect.
On most Unix systems a telnet session can be initiated using the telnet command. Most users simply type
telnet <remote host>but if the user just types telnet then various options and subcommands are available which can be used to study the behaviour of the session.
Here's an exmaple of a telnet session from
bash$ telnet telnet> toggle options Will show option processing. telnet> open ccub Trying 126.96.36.199 ... Connected to ccub.wlv.ac.uk. Escape character is '^]'. SENT do SUPPRESS GO AHEAD SENT will TERMINAL TYPE (reply) RCVD do TERMINAL TYPE (don't reply) RCVD will SUPPRESS GO AHEAD (don't reply) RCVD will ECHO (reply) SENT do ECHO (reply) RCVD do ECHO (reply) SENT wont ECHO (reply) UNIX(r) System V Release 4.0 (ccub) RCVD dont ECHO (don't reply) login: Login timed out after 60 seconds Connection closed by foreign host.
These pages were produced to support a communication systems module that is no longer taught. Further communication systems notes are available on-line.
Author : Peter Burden
ShellTelnet is a Windows telnet client intended for use with a Unix/Linux shell account.
In addition to the classic telnet functionality, ShellTellnet introduces a new way of browsing Unix hosts. ShellTelnet allows the user to browse files and folders on a remote machine using the Windows Explorer interface.
ShellTelnet includes a hidden FTP client. It makes possible to transfer files without a use of slow and archaic utilities like Kermit and zmodem.
To use ShellTelnet you need a local Windows machine and a remote machine running Unix or Linux. It is assumed that the default shell on the remote machine is BASH.
When you use the Solaris telnet command to log in from one site to another, don't forget that you can enter telnet's command mode at any time during your session, usually by entering the following key sequence:
[CTRL] ] (the control key and right-bracket key at the same time)
When this is successful, you'll see the following prompt:
Then, from the "telnet>" prompt, enter "?" to learn more about the available telnet commands. A few commands that will give you more help at the prompt are shown below:
display displays many current Telnet settings
send ? displays commands you can "send" to the remote site
set ? displays variables that can be set
One of my favorites (mostly when fooling around) is:
which means "send this message: are you there?".
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