View Full Version : AOL stuff

11-11-2003, 04:38 AM
I have read that AOL doesn't really give you access to the Internet. How do you access websites with AOL then?

Mark Miller
11-11-2003, 08:50 AM
You can get to the net from Aol in a very easy way. Just type in url in address bar and away you go. Think of welcome page as your home page with a regular isp.
The main difference is that if you don't want to leave Aol, they have many sites that really don't leave their system.
Most people who have been using the net for awhile really don't like Aol because they feel it's overpriced {it is] and most of it propriety stuff is very vanilla.
We use both Aol thru cable and ie6. It is called bring you own acess. For us it is the best of both worlds. My wife loves Aol.
Personally I don't use Aol except for some games and their radio which IMHO is very good.
Their mail program is just so so.
You can do better for the money, but it is a pretty safe place for kids.
They have their own firewall now also [McAfee} which also works outside of Aol.
By the way lots of Aol links lead straight to the net.:)

11-11-2003, 11:20 AM
But, does AOL give you an actually PPP conection?

Mark Miller
11-11-2003, 11:28 AM
I'm not sure what you mean, but I think what happens is that it is a separate software package that run on top of your os.
Once logged in it runs like a regular isp [I think].
The difference is that it is proprietary and has it's own little world, but as I said it is very easy to get to the regular internet, which come to think of it thats what you are asking. No Aol is not the internet.
As I said before in other post, if your confused by this answer, think how I must feel:D

11-11-2003, 11:58 AM
I think jes is talking about AOL using PPPoE (WINPPPoET) overlay? Found this in Google:

AOL internet is somewhat smaller than the WWW in that they do block known problem sites on their servers, you are able to access larger slices in IE or other browsers outside of the "keyword" kingdom.

Of course Spybot immunization blocks sites too, just a matter of how "vanilla" you want your internet to be. AOL is sort of like Disney for the internet.

Mark Miller
11-11-2003, 06:09 PM
Hi Prntrd,
I think your family and my wife are the only ones who use Aol on this forum. Makes us quasi "experts" :D :D :D

11-11-2003, 09:51 PM
I am paid till next month, now on DSL, I might just loose that security blanket after all.

11-11-2003, 11:00 PM
I think your family and my wife are the only ones who use Aol on this forum.Hehe...I've been hooked on AOL for years... :)

11-13-2003, 08:23 AM
But, does AOL give you an actually PPP conection

AOL doesn't use any of the standard TCP/IP protocols (like POP3 or SMTP) and the AOL Dialer does not use PPP. They have their own protocols to connect their customers to their servers (transparent proxies/cache servers not sure what hardware they use actually :) ) which in turn dish out internet content or send out email. I belive AOL does allow you the option to use normal PPP to connect into it's network (IE: connect to AOL's network after you have used another ISP to connect to the internet.)

Hope this helps :)

11-25-2003, 11:48 AM
I havent used AOL since 1995 but I dont beleive they are using any proprietary protocols to access their network. Goto your network conections and goto properties on the dialer under network what does it say for type of dialup server most likely PPP or SLIP (dought that though since SLIP was replaced by PPP). which is the point-point protocol which will use pap or chap for authentication. PPPoE is point to point over Ethernet which is used in DSL where you authenticate to a server before it pushes down your IP address. These are layer 2 protocols that establish the link after the link is established you will be using IP which is layer 3. whether they use reverse proxy for internet sites I dont know basicly you are in their network and pass through it to get to the rest of the internet if using dial-up if using broadband you will go through your isp's network to get to aol's network. do a trace and look at the autonomys systems you pass (AS#) then look it up on arins database to see who owns that AS# (this is known as a whois). Im not going to get into BGP peering to explain the internet but it is very interesting. As for the e-mail they are using a web interface like groupwise web access or microsoft OWA that connects directly with the mail server. back in the day they allowed POP3, SMTP or IMAP so you could connect with outlook or navigator dont know now.

Mark Miller
11-25-2003, 06:40 PM
Hi Juniper,
Thanks for explanation
Now what did you say??? :D :D :D
It does sound great though
Mark:D :D :D

11-25-2003, 07:26 PM
Here's a little tidbit about AOL and "protocols":


I'll see if I can find my old info om AOL and their network , if anyone is still interested :)

Hope this helps :)

11-25-2003, 10:15 PM
Here's some info someone might find interesting ( let me post this stuff before I forget since i don't logon as much as i use to :) )



Some snippets from around the net: (some of these postings relate to the way AOL use to work)

Access to TCP/IP when you're dialed into an AOL dialup is a relatively
recent (within the past two or three years (note this would be 1994) enhancement to AOL. Prior to
that, it was *impossible* to use standard, widely available winsock
software on AOL.

When you're dialed into an AOL dialup, their newsreader isn't a standard
NNTP client. They use the proprietary protocol feed for *everything*
and you can't segregate out the news data stream from the rest of the
traffic on their proprietary protocol data link.

The recent TCP/IP tunnelling that AOL added just makes it look like
you're connected to a TCP/IP link to winsock compliant software. The
stuff that your open standards news client, web browsers, and telnet
clients thinks its sending via TCP/IP ends up getting packaged up
and sent on the proprietary protocol link and when it gets to AOL's
system on the other end of the line, AOL unpackages the TCP/IP packets,
does some address translation and sends them out onto the Internet.

When you're connected to AOL via a standard ISP with the
BYO-connectivity plan, I'd guess that the AOL client somehow detects
that and sends the *entire* proprietary protocol data feed over a
single TCP connection to predetermined (by AOL). Again, the data
that gets handled by AOL's integrated newsreader is mixed into that
single feed and can't be segregated out unless you have access to
AOL's specification for their proprietary protocol -- which I
seriously doubt AOL would be willing to let loose.

Of course, you still have the option of buying alternate USENET
news service from a third party like Newsguy or Remarq, with which
you could use nfilter and open-standard NNTP newsreaders.

Last I knew, AOL did not use PPP for its dialups. It used its own
proprietary protocol which originally spoke to the AOL servers only,
and was later retrofitted to also speak IP. It all worked by using the
dialup server as a simple terminal server, which relayed all bytes
from the caller through a raw tcp session to an "AOL server" elsewhere
on the network, which then decapped the IP packets and forwarded them

I heard at one time that they were going to switch to using PPP, but
that was at least a year before the AOL 5.0 CDs started showing up in
the post, and AOL 5.0 still uses the "AOL Dialup Adapter" (ie
proprietary protocol) rather than the Microsoft "Dialup Adapter"

(BTW, the nature of the connection (in particular, the tcp tunnel),
made for terrible performance - typical ping rtt's were 500ms and
above with a 56k modem).

The network and dialup connection adapters for a windows machine are a
component of the OS. The AOL Dialup Adapter and AOL Adapter are created
through AOL's setup to make things easier for the end user. The adapter
itself is part of the OS, the components that bind to the adapter may or
may not be MS technologies. The AOL Dialup Adapter is used specifically for
dial up connections and allows you to use applications other than the AOL
client over the internet. The AOL adapter which is used specifically for the
AOL client is basically a VPN adapter that operates over TCP port 5190. The
AOL client itself does run through this VPN connection, however the other
client applications you use, access the internet in the same way they do
with other ISP's.
>or the standard dial-up
> adapter. They use an AoL adapter and AoL network.

AOL does not use NetBios it in fact uses TCP/IP. They did at one time use
their own proprietary transport protocol, however that was dumped some time

Sorry, but I can't find my docs on AOL's network, oh well hope these post help :)

11-26-2003, 10:50 AM
I stand corrected I never really gave AOL much thought and posted the way dial-up networking normaly works. When I delt with AOL it was at the peering level as I was an internet engineer for an ISP (very large one) for couple years. AOL and compuserve and some others do use proprietary protocols that are built into their dialer (which is why you have to use their software) for normal dialup explanation on PPP/SLIP or PAP and CHAP go here http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,48467,00.asp
For an explanation on AOL well the sites I found are way to technical for this forum. ( heh even found one site that reverse engineered the protocols.)

If you are really interested and want to go deaper hit cisco's web site