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! d i g i t a l !   I N T E R O F F I C E  M E M O R A N D U M

To: Jared Aaronson 

                                       Date: May 19, 1980 

                                       From: Peter Mierswa  

                                       Dept: NCSS

                                       Loc:  MR1-2/H22

                                       Ext:  5254

Subj: TOPS10/TOPS20 Communications Products Training Plan 

     The development of a personalized training plan for a  software
support specialist requires the setting of goals for skill level and
topic breadth, assessment of current skills, and the development  of
a  sequence of courses, self instruction, and evaluation designed to
reach the desired skill level.

     Skill levels can be defined by  grouping  people  with  similar
experience and needs:

     1.  Pre-sales skills are required by salesmen and  specialists.
         These   skills  include  a  general  understanding  of  the
         function of the  communications  product  and  the  general
         advantages  and  disadvantages  of  its implementation on a
         particular system.

     2.  End-user skills are required by specialists and  all  users
         of  the product.  These skills include use of file transfer
         utilities and task-to-task programming.

     3.  Installation and network management skills are required  by
         the   specialist   and   the  network  manager  or  systems
         programmer.   These  skills  include  installation,   basic
         trouble shooting, and basic performance analysis.

     4.  Maintenance/Consulting skills are required by senior  field
         specialists   and   home  office  support  specialists.   A
         specialist with these skills  can  help  during  pre-sales,
         help   with   difficult   installations,   do  applications
         consulting,   and   isolate   and   perhaps   solve    most
         post-installation problems.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 2
Topic Definitions

     The development of  a  personalized  training  plan  must  also
consider  the  breadth  of  topics  included  in  any communications
application.  It may be decided that certain topics  are  unecessary
or require special emphasis for a particular employee.  These topics

     1.  Mainframe hardware,  system  software,  and  communications

     2.  Front end hardware,  system  software,  and  communications

     3.  Communications interfaces (line devices).

     4.  Modems, multiplexers, modem eliminators, etc.

     5.  Carrier services and private line arrangements.

     6.  Protocols.

     7.  Diagnostic tools training.

     8.  Familiarity with other DECnet products.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 3
Topic Definitions

     For each communication product, courses,  materials,  and  self
study  projects  are  listed  in four groups.  The first group would
provide pre-sales skills, the second  group,  end-user  skills,  the
third  group,  installation  and  network-managment  skills, and the
forth group maintenance and consulting skills.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 4


     Do a number of the following.  All are  not  necessary.   Sales
Training  has  produced a DECnet self study package which contains a
number of the following items.

     1.  Read the DECnet-20 SPD.

     2.  Read the SPD's for all other DECnet products.

     3.  Read or skim through Terminals and Communications Handbook.

     4.  Read chapters 1 and 2  of  TOPS-20  DECnet-20  Programmer's
         Guide and Operations Manual, SDC AA-5091B-TM.

     5.  Read the Distributed Systems Handbook, EB-P1195.

     6.  Read  Distributed  Processing  and  Communications   Primer

     7.  Read Introduction to DECnet, SDC AA-J055A-TK.

     8.  Read Distributed Processing and Networks  Marketing  Guide,

     9.  Review   the   following   media   packages.    Distributed
         Processing   and  Networks  -  8  minute  sound/sync  show.
         Distibuted Processing and Networks - 6 module  slide  show.
         Under One Flag - sound sync show.

    10.  Read a selection of Network Profiles and  Customer  Support

    11.  Read the DECnet Support Strategy document.

     Following the self study, get some experience:

     1.  Attend a DECnet pre-sales  presentation  given  by  someone

     2.  Prepare a DECnet presentation and give it to your peers.

     3.  Prepare a DECnet presentation and give it to a customer.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 5


     The employee  and  customer  courses  offered  by  Ed  Services
combine  classroom  lecture  and lab exercises into a very effective
training program.  Ed services courses  included  in  this  training
plan  should  be  considered  required  parts  of the training plan.
Before attending courses:

     1.  Read chapters 3-5,  7,  and  8  of  the  TOPS-20  DECnet-20
         Programmer's Guide and Operations Manual.

     2.  Find an installed network and try using the  file  transfer
         utility and the network command terminal program.

     Take one of the Ed services communications courses:

     1.  TOPS-20 Networks (customer course).

     2.  DECsystem-20 Data Communications (employee course).

     Practice using network facilities:

     1.  Look at an existing example of task-to-task code.  A number
         of examples can be found on the DECnet-20 SWSKIT.

     2.  Choose a project which requires you  to  code  task-to-task
         programs   in   assembler   language.   Design,  code,  and
         implement the programs on a TOPS-20 system.  Such a project
         could  be  a  pair  of  programs  which provide terminal to
         terminal communication (11M TLK/LSN), a  pair  of  programs
         which  provide  simple file transfer, or a pair of programs
         which provide simple remote file access.

     3.  Implement task-to-task programs on a non TOPS-20 node which
         communicate  with a TOPS-20 node.  Choose from the examples
         listed above.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 6


     1.  Read chapters  6,  9,  and  10  of  the  TOPS-20  DECnet-20
         Programmer's Guide and Operations Manual.

     2.  Attend the Ed Services course Communications Fundamentals.

     3.  Install DECnet-20 on a TOPS-20 system.  If possible  do  an
         installation  first  on  a  KS  processor,  then  on  a KL.
         Installation is not complete until the network can be used.
         Play  with  your installed network.  Display the status and
         counts for  all  lines.   Bring  lines  up  and  down,  and
         loopback  some lines.  Reload the front end, restart Netcon
         and Fal.

     4.  Learn how to extract the DECnet related SYSERR entries from
         ERROR.SYS.   Be  sure  you  understand  the content of each

     5.  Become   familiar   with   modems,   multiplexers,    modem
         eliminators  and  carrier facilities (I'm not yet sure what
         the  best  resources  are  for  this  study).   Design  and
         determine  the  cost  of  two  different configurations for
         connecting  DECsystem-20s.   One  configuration  should  be
         local,  the  other  remote.   Include  the  line  units you
         choose, the modems, and the carrier  facility.   Write  the
         Network  Profile  which  describes each network and have it
         reviewed by your local DECnet coordinator.
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 7


     The first three  skill  levels  include  all  topics.   Network
performance  analysis,  debugging  and  consulting also require high
skill levels in all topics, but it may not be possible to  train  an
employee  in  all topics equally well.  The following training items
are listed by topic to allow choice in topic concentration.

4.1  DECnet-20 Mainframe Training

     1.  Attend  the  Ed  Services  Monitor  Internals  Course   for

     2.  Study the listings  or  fiche  of  NFT/FAL/GALAXY,  NETCON,

     3.  Become familiar with the data structures  used  within  the
         monitor  to  perform  network  functions,  the logical link
         block tree, the message queues, the node  name  table,  the
         JFN  block,  and  any others which strike your fancy.  This
         can be done without boredom by writting a  utility  program
         which  dumps  the  data structures from a dump or a running
         system and formats the information.

     4.  Become familiar with debugging techniques  and  maintenance
         utilities.   Practice running NFT, FAL, and NETCON wit DDT.
         Study the  output  from  SYSDPY  DN.   Practice  running  a
         private  galaxy  system  for DN200 support.  Try looking at
         DECnet data structures with MDDT.  Review the  monitor  and
         DECnet-20  SWSKITS,  especially  DTR/DTS  for  testing  and
         performance measurement, and DNSEND/DNREAD for NSP  message

4.2  DECnet-20 Front End Training

     The DECnet-20 front end is a PDP11/34 running a modified RSX11S
DECnet  system.  Complete support of this software requires thorough
knowledge of the RSX11M system and RSX11M DECnet.  At  a  minimum  a
TOPS-20 DECnet support person must know at least enough to work with
an RSX11M specialist to resolve a  problem  together.   All  of  the
following  steps  which  don't  deal  directly with the MCB could be
accomplished  by  taking  two  courses  from  ED  SERVICES:   RSX11M
Support,  and  RSX11M  DECnet.   Taking  the  courses is prefered to
working in the office.

     1.  Become an experienced RSX11M user.  Start  by  reading  the
         utilities  and  operator procedures manuals from the RSX11M
         manual set.  Get an account on an M system and try all  the
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 8


     2.  Become an RSX11M macro programmer.  Read  RSX11M  Executive
         Calls,  MACRO-11,  Task  Builder,  Guide  to Writting an IO
         Driver.   Write  both  unprivledged  and  privledged  macro

     3.  Become an RSX11M system programmer.  Do a sysgen.  Cause  a
         crash  and  use CDA to print a dump.  Explain from the dump
         how the crash occured.

     4.  Become a DECnet/M user.  Play with NFT,  RMT,  NTDEMO,  and
         NCP.   Write  a  task-to-task  user mode program.  Read the
         DECnet/M System Manager's  Guide,  Programmer's  Reference,
         and User' Guide.

     5.  Finally, study the MCB internals.  Since the MCB  is  based
         on both RSX11S and DECnet/M, you should be already familiar
         with its structure.  Use MCBDA to analyze some dumps.   Try
         the  patching  technique  outlined  in  the  DECnet  SWSKIT
         (change the system name, then check it with NCP).  Finally,
         some  problems  may  not  be  patchable,  and  may  require
         replacement object files.  Learn how  to  rebuild  the  MCB
         from sources.  Try adding some code to continuously compute
         the ratio between data messages and all  messages  for  the
         entire node.  Build the system and make sure it works.

4.3  DECnet-20 Communication Interfaces Training

     1.  Attend the ED SERVICES course:   Communications  Interfaces
         and Modems Workshop.

     2.  Study KDPSRV and the  MCB  driver  modules  from  fiche  or
         listings.   Study  the  data  structures used in the driver

     3.  Become familiar with the differences between EIA 232C,  EIA
         449, BELL 303, and CCITT V35 circuits.

4.4  DECnet-20 Modem And Modem Device Training

     1.  Read  the  DECnet  SWSKIT  article  on  modems  and   modem
To: Jared Aaronson                                            Page 9

     2.  Find the owner's manual for one of the modems  in  the  lab
         and  learn  how  to  do all the different types of loopback

4.5  DECnet-20 Carrier Services Training

     Somehow review all the different  carrier  services  available.
You  should  known  how  to refer a customer to the service with the
right price and the right capabilities.  Find out what services  are
incompatible with DECnet.

4.6  DECnet-20 Protocol Training

     Order the DNA architecture specifications from the SDC and read
them.   If  these  manuals  are  too confusing or difficult at first
start with the DNA SPI course.

4.7  Communications Hardware Support Tool Training

     Practice using a break out box, a  noise  generating  modem,  a
data pattern generator, and a data scope.

4.8  Familiarity With Other DECnet Products

     The solution  of  a  communications  problem  requires  a  very
precise and careful description of the symptoms.  In many cases this
process alone solves the problem.  When a problem involves different
systems  some  familiarity with the foreign system is required.  One
should not attempt to solve  the  problem  without  talking  with  a
specialist  familiar  with the foreign system, but you need a common
vocabulary and set  of  concepts  in  order  to  solve  the  problem
together.   For  this  reason it is good to try to gain a user level
understanding of each foreign system which supports  DECnet.   Based
on  current and projected sales volumes start with RSX11M, then VAX.
And don't forget RSTS, RT, and IAS.