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Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

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Prerequisite – Chat Conferencing Protocols 

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is an Internet application that was developed by Jakko Oikarinen in Finland. Chat is the most convenient immediate way to communicate with others via Internet. There are a number of topics called “channels” through which you can chat with many people all over the world. After joining channel, you can see what other people on this channel type on their keyboards. In that situation, everyone on this channel can see whatever you type on your keyboard. You can also hold individual conversations with someone. Channels get live on different servers around the world. Some servers have only a few channels, while others have many of them. 

Model used for IRC :

IRC follows client-server model. It means that both client and server software are required in order to use it. Many IT (Information Technology) clients are available for different kinds of computers, so whether you have a PC, Macintosh, or UNIX work-section, you will be able to use IRC. 

Chatting on IRC : 

IRC client connects/communicates with IRC server on Internet. First, you have to log on to the server using a client and then pick the channel on which you want to chat. They are sent to your server when you type words on your keyboard. Now your server is part of global IRC server network. Your server sends your messages to other servers, which in turn, sends your messages to people who are part of your channel. 

They can then read and respond to your messages. Many websites use proprietary chat software that does not use IRC protocol but enables you to chat when you are on site. There is another kind of chat, called Instant Messaging. In this kind of chatting, you communicate privately, one-to-one, with another person. You can create special lists so that you are informed when your “buddies” come online, ready to chat, and they are informed when you come online. 

Working on IRC : 

When you want to chat, first you have to make a connection to Internet and then start your client software. After that, you need to log on to IRC server which is located on Internet. There are many IRC servers are located all over the world. Those IRC servers are connected together in network so that they can communicate with each other. 

Servers are connected in spanning tree architecture. In this case, each server is connected to several others, but these servers are not directly connected to one another. When you connect to server, first you have to choose a specific channel to join and then choose a user name to identify yourself when you at chat. Many channels are available that cover different topics. Your message is sent from client software on your PC to IRC server to which you are connected. Then message is sent from one server to other servers where all users on this channel are logged on. 

In this network, messages are transferred from one server to another server. Under a spanning-tree server architecture, a message always takes the shortest route through network to reach its final destination. Each server sends messages to client software of their respected users who are connected to channel/network. Then people/users can read and respond to your message on their computers. 

Client Software for Chat :

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)Chat program such as mIRC or Ircle
Web-based chatWeb browsers like Netscape or Internet Explorer
AOL (America Online) ChatAOL access program for America online
Direct Chat ProgramsICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, or other program
Online ConferencingConferencing program (CU-SeeMe, Netscape conference, Netmeeting)

Chat Servers : 

Communication servers permit you to give your information to large number of users in environment that is just like Internet newsgroups. The most advanced servers have recently started augmenting the text-based medium of conversation with dynamic voice and video support. There are three major types of communication servers :

1. EFnet servers
2. UnderNet Servers
3. DALnet servers 

Each server has its own hostname, which mostly consists of the name of the server and Internet that it accesses. As servers already might have maximum number of user connections, you may not be allowed to connect to the server of your choice. 

Smileys : 

When we talk to people face-to-face, the tone of your voice and your facial expressions impart great meaning to what you say. You can personalize your written messages by using smileys you create with your keyboard. Maximum time the main use of smileys is to indicate joke. When text might not be clear. There are different types of smileys which are as follows :

1. Basic Smileys
2. Widely Used Smileys
3. Midget Smileys
4. Mega Smileys
5. Usenet Smileys
6. Emotional Smileys 

Advantages of IRC:

  1. It is decentralized.
  2. It allows chat and file sharing.
  3. Flexible and robust which allows real time discussion.
  4. It has the concept of access levels for better privacy.

Disadvantages of IRC:

  1. It consumes bandwidth.
  2. Concern is there with flooding.
  3. Fear of security incidents are there.
  4. Concern with Cyberbullying.
Last Updated : 29 Jun, 2022
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