IFX Group FAQ
This is the place where our most
Frequently Asked Questions are answered. The topics covered are not restricted to the IFX Group or our products. If you have a question, please let us know.
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- What is this IFX Group anyway?
- How did the IFX Group start?
- Where did the IFX Group name come from?
- Can I join the IFX Group?
- What is a TBBS?
- What is an original IPAD?
- What is the IPAD Owners Association?
- Where can I buy IPAD-OS?
- Is the IPAD-OS really that much faster?
- Does the IFX Group do custom projects?
- What does the IFX Group consider a project?
Q: What is this IFX Group anyway?
A: The IFX Group is a lose collection of people with a wide variety of talents and abilities who are interested in solving problems more for the challenge than for the money. The
group changes in number of members and has been anywhere from a single member (our founder) to hundreds.
Q: How did the IFX Group start?
A: It started with a bunch of friends with common interests all having fun with computers when they should have been hitting the books in college. We have a little more detail about the history in our information section.
Q: Where did the IFX Group name come from?
A: Strangely enough the name came from a series of letters that came up in random combination on a 1988 Oklahoma license plate. It seemed to fit our group more than any other name at the time. We have a little more detail about the history in our information section.
A: Right now the need for membership is tied directly to the projects we have pending. If you would like to help with the projects currently under way, please contact us.
A: There was a period of time between 1988 and 1999 where the IFX Group created and maintained online services for different commercial organizations. In the 1980's an online service was called a Bulletin Board System (BBS). One of the few truly commercial quality BBS software platforms was called The Bread Board System (TBBS) made by eSoft, Inc located in Colorado, USA. The name described the extremely free-form design of the software. It allowed the IFX Group to make the online presence for each company exactly fit that company often emulating features of several other BBS software packages as needed. Today the Internet has replaced small centralized online services and the hole left behind is still felt. There are hopes that at some point the power and flexibility of TBBS can be recreated in a form allowing use on the Internet.
A: The original Internet Protocol Adapter (IPAD), a network operating system (NOS), was created by Philip L. Becker the founder of eSoft, Inc and creator of TBBS. He started the IPAD-OS project in 1993 with a small test box that his avid customers dubbed the
Becker Box. It was originally designed to connect between many different kinds of devices and the Internet that made it a natural for anyone that wanted to start an ISP. In 1998 the IPAD was part of the daily operation of over 10% of the Internet Service Providers in the USA. The most amazing part is that it reached that level of market saturation with nearly no advertising and was instrumental in creating many new ISPs. Most are still in business and still own one or more IPADs. Much later, in 2010, Apple released their tablet device and named it
iPad which has both caused a little confusion and also revived interest in the original IPAD-OS.
Q: What is the IPAD Owners Association?
A: The original IPAD was created as a simple but powerful answer to a complex problem. The original IPAD is a completely specialized embedded operating system (which is why it is now called IPAD-OS) designed to perform a set of tasks at the highest efficiency possible on modest hardware. But that seems to be a hard concept to explain over the phone to a prospective new customer. So eSoft chose to put the IPAD product and associated development on the shelf. In February 2000, a group of loyal IPAD-OS customers banded together and formed a not-for-profit organization called the IPAD Owners Association, Inc. (IOA). The IOA collectively purchased the rights to the original IPAD-OS source code and is continuing the development needed to keep it current with modern Internet technology and sometimes providing features not available on any other platform.
A: New IPAD products are no longer available from eSoft. The agreement between the IPAD Owners Association (IOA) and eSoft places some limits on new product sales directly from the IOA. The good news is that any IOA member has the right to buy a new IPAD-OS license from the IOA and sell it to others without any restriction. And at this time, anyone who owns an IPAD-OS device can become a member of the IPAD Owners Association. The IFX Group is a charter member of the IPAD Owners Association, our founder has made a significant time investment as part of the IPAD-OS development team and as a result is able to offer licenses for new and improved IPAD-OS software. In many cases we will have an IOA member near you help with the installation of your new IPAD-OS device to give you the best experience with the best solution for your needs.
Q: Is the IPAD-OS really that much faster?
A: The formal performance testing has not been completed yet. This limits us from stating official performance numbers. Small parts of the IPAD have been tested in the lab over the years to measure performance that all indicate there is more power in the engine than first meets the eye. One example is the web server built into the IPAD-OS. In lab testing the web server successfully kept up with somewhere between 800,000 and 900,000 page services a day on a 133Mhz CPU. Since this is a lab test that sometimes does not take real world factors into consideration, the official published number was lowered to 500,000 (that's half a million on very low end hardware). But there are a number of less formal tests going on all the time, in the real world. The best example is a small company that was using an older IPAD-OS device as their main firewall and connection to the Internet. The IPAD-OS was also serving web pages and all (hundreds) of their email accounts. The company management wanted to replace the IPAD-OS with a Linux solution and set up a new computer with a much faster CPU and lots of memory. When the switch happened all email on the LAN slowed to a crawl. The employees were no longer able to reliably pick up their email because the connection response was so slow over the Ethernet that the email client would time out. Some quick back-peddling to move parts back to the IPAD-OS helped lessen the load on the Linux box until even better hardware could be found. The interesting part is that the IPAD-OS was running on a 133Mhz CPU with 16 megabytes of memory - relatively primitive hardware by any standard of measurement. It gets even more interesting when according to SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) measurements, the IPAD-OS was only using between 25% and 50% of the CPU when it was doing everything for the company.
Q: Does the IFX Group do custom projects?
A: The IFX Group is always interested in helping out where we can make a difference. Our specialty is in very targeted solutions for very specific problems and needs. This means in most cases we can complete the project very fast. We also have the ability to work well with other teams to help bridge operational or functional gaps between existing projects.
Q: What does the IFX Group consider a project?
A: The term
project is a generic title we put on any task or function we perform in the process of helping others. This word was selected because it covers a wide range of possible services and products we can offer to our customers. Unfortunately, we are unable to publish a complete list of all of our past projects and customers due to non-disclosure agreements and other professional courtesy. We often help corporations and individuals out of some potentially embarrassing situations and we don't want to bring any undue attention to our customers just because they may have needed our help. Some of our solutions involve custom software programming. There are some examples of our tools in our download area of this web site. Other projects involve designing custom solutions to best meet the needs of our customers. Since we are free from outside corporate sponsorship and understand the need for long-term cost effectiveness, we can openly suggest solutions that may not have been available through traditional consultant channels. Our most enjoyable project is helping other teams get past their creative road blocks. We have people with understanding of very low level technical processes and details while still retaining the high level human communication needed to pass that understanding on to others. This allows us to bring a different perspective to problem solving not commonly available elsewhere. We are good at what we do. When we say
project, we really mean fun.
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