The structure of Fidonet has been designed with a large number of structures in place. There are a number of coordinators that are at each level, this helps them to handle any issues that may come up with the nodes as well as disputes that members might have as well. Coordinators for the networks deal with localized issues that will come up in a city or zone. Regional coordinators have a bigger responsibility of dealing with nodes within a region. This as a result will lead to a bigger number of nodes that can have an issue as well as more disputes that will have to deal with. The final set of Coordinators that need to be dealt with are those of zone Coordinators that are responsible with nodes located in a certain zone. This is the largest number of nodes that are assigned to a structure. There are only six zones so there are not as many zone coordinators as there are other types of these. There is one International Coordinator that is selected from all of the others to be the one and only coordinator.
Technical Structure behind Fidonet
The system that was the core of Fidonet was based very close to the implementation of modem based dial up access to the bulletin board systems. The messages that were sent back and forth were designed to make sure that the only people that had access to them were the person that sent it as well as the person that was supposed to receive the message.
There was based on the way the system worked the potential that someone associated with Fidonet could read these messages though most of the time there was an understood courtesy that was extended that no one would read these messages, though they did reserve that right. The system of Netmail was designed that with a message, the sender could attach a single file. This became a very popular feature among many of the users as they would use this to transfer attachments including information that was used for BBS based games on the system. The system was actually evolving the more that the users took advantage of the system.
Zone Structure of Fidonet
The concept behind Fidonet was that it was broken down into six zones these zones were then broken down into regions and so forth. The larger the zone, the higher it was on the list. In 2007 the zone six region was removed and as such the remaining zones all were lumped in with zone three. Coordinators of these zones selected regional coordinators who then selected area coordinators that would control their individual cities and small areas.
These addresses consisted of three numbers. These numbers were zone, network and node. It was important that you got these three numbers correct as if you messed up one of these numbers, your message would never reach the person that you were trying to reach. This was one of the biggest issues that users of Fido net expressed with the people behind the system. An example of what a number was supposed to look like was 1:918.170. This number was specific to region one, the area of Tulsa Oklahoma and node 170. This in turn made sure that only the person at node 170 was able to see the message, however if your number was off by one, then someone else would get the message instead.
Who are the Users?
One of the requirements of Fidonet is that there had to be a list kept on all of the users of Fidonet. This list of users consisted of information that would tell the operators of Fidonet a little about the person behind each node. This was updated on a weekly basis as to help and make sure that a node that was no longer in use did not remain as part of the nodelist too long and thus confuse things further. When a user would not use a node any longer it was taken out of use for a period of time and then reintroduced as a way to help and keep people from sending messages that were not intended for the new person that owned the node. Each of the zone coordinators were supposed to keep this list up to date and pass it along to the International Coordinator for his use as well.
This list was the most important part of the whole Fidonet process as it was what helped people to communicate with one another. This list if it was not accurate could very easily cause a large number of issues by people sending messages to the wrong address. This was a very big concern that many new users had as they worried that their messages would be sent and would be seen by a person that was not supposed to see it. This is why the zone and regional coordinators job was so vital in helping to prevent any confusion that may have come up in the process of trying to send a message.
As mentioned prior the systems were designed to send an article at night when many people were asleep. This was to reduce the costs that the user would incur with their long-distance charges as well as helping to make sure that the system was not as congested due to people sending messages themselves as well as them using their telephone to make regular phone calls.
Fidonet ran smoothly
This structure made sure that Fidonet ran smoothly and there were very few issues with the system. The issues that did come up were dealt with very easily and as a result very few people actually saw any type of disruption to their operations. With the coordinators all working in unison, this allowed issues to be addressed quickly as soon as they would come along with that being a selling point of Fidonet, the developers were able to see there be a huge spike, but that would then begin to trail off for a short time.