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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about APANA®

(Last updated - 28 February 2017)
Australian Public Access Network Association Inc.
ARBN 081 355 722
VRN A0026600C

1. What is APANA®?

APANA® (The Australian Public Access Network Association Inc) is a not-for-profit hobby group that encourages knowledge, skills and self-learning about computers and computer networking by its users. APANA is not an ISP. It does not (generally) provide Internet access. Instead, it provides infrastructure and facilities to enable members to design, implement and operate computer networks that are significantly more complex than typical home networks, thereby learning and enhancing their skills. It was founded in 1992 by Mark Gregson, and is the successor to PubNet, a similar organisation.

2. What does APANA® actually do?

APANA functions as a number of semi-autonomous regions, and the facilities offered by those regions vary. However they all have an emphasis on self learning and experimentation. Question 7 below has more details.

3. Why become a member of APANA®?

APANA is unique in that it provides a flexible learning environment for self tuition. Members can operate practically any protocol, operating system, or brand of equipment they wish. Often, if we do not already support your choice, it will be up to you to implement it! But that is the advantage APANA offers. As long as it doesn't adversely impact other members (and complies with the Acceptable Use Policy), we will endeavour to facilitate it for you. So you can run the latest experimental technology, or an old historic technology, or anything in between! The facilities we do offer already tend to be more flexible and more permissive than similar commercial offerings, to encourage experimentation and learning. We also have active discussion groups for technical support and assistance (but we do NOT offer a telephone Help Desk!) Of course, as a member of APANA you also have full voting rights and can stand for election to a committee.

4. Can I run my own server or servers?

Yes, you can. In fact, you may be able to do that already. However, some ISP's and most mobile broadband suppliers do not allow "inbound" access (ie to home servers). They certainly only allow you one address - but you may want more than one. In those cases, an APANA VPN can be used which enables members to operate server(s). It provides a number of fixed, routable IP addresses (/28 usually), permitting multiple different servers, and IPV6 (multiple /64 address ranges). Currently, members run their own web, mail, and various other types of servers. The server is located in your own home, meaning you have full control over it.

5. How do I join?

You can submit an initial application online at http://www.apana.org.au. Once your application is processed, you can pay the relevant membership fee electronically. You can then make use of the APANA facilities.

6. Who runs APANA®?

APANA is run by its members. Those who contribute to the operation of APANA are volunteers. No one is paid for their work. The governing body is the Management Committee (MC). It consists of the Officers of APANA - President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer plus regional representatives. As well there are many other APANA members who assist in the day-to-day running of the organisation and its facilities. The Officers are elected at APANA's Annual General Meeting. The Regional Representatives are elected by the Regions, usually annually. If you're an ordinary member of APANA, you're entitled to run for election to the MC or the Regional Committee in the region to which you belong. In fact, we encourage you to do so - serving on the MC or a Regional Committee can be a rewarding experience.

7. What is an APANA® Region?

APANA is comprised of several semi-autonomous groups - usually geographical based. For example, there are regions in South Australia, Perth, the Hunter area etc. The regions tend to run their own affairs, operate their own types of facilities, and set their own fees. People often join a particular region because of its proximity, or because of the facilities it offers. There is also an "Independently Connected Region" for people who do not wish to join any particular region. Note: the regions of APANA are not a separate legal entity or a separate club. For historical reasons, the regions have different emphasis, offer different facilities, and charge different fees. For example: The respective region websites give more information about the region and its activities.

8. How do I contact a particular Region?

9. How do I get involved in APANA®?

APANA regions are welcoming and always keen to get new members. So getting involved can be as easy as joining up, and sending an email about yourself to the region, or attending their meetings and making yourself known. From then on, you can become involved in the group, learn about the facilities, and even take on tasks.

10. How are membership fees used?

APANA is a not-for-profit organisation, so its fees are set at a level that covers its costs. These include electricity, equipment, internet fees, phone costs etc. There are no salaries, commissions etc paid. All fees paid by members go directly to APANA and are banked by the Treasurer. The MC has ultimate control over where APANA's funds are spent, but will also act when duly elected regional committees make financial decisions on behalf of their region. Each month the Treasurer produces a Financial Statement which is available to members.

11. When are fees paid?

Most members pay annually, on the anniversary of joining. So if you joined in April, you should send your annual membership dues to arrive in April the following year. You should receive reminder notices about a month before your membership is due to expire.

12. What do people mean when they refer to "the rules of APANA"?

APANA is bound by a set of rules or laws just like any other association. They dictate responsibilities and procedures that must be observed by all members of APANA. These rules are lodged with and approved by the Registrar of Incorporated Associations in Victoria. They are where you find the detail on such things as how to nominate for the MC, how to call for a special regional meeting, or how to change the rules themselves, etc. You can find them on APANA's Web site at http://www.apana.org.au They're quite easy to follow, written in plain English and members should become familiar with them.

13. What is the Acceptable-Use Policy

? The Acceptable-Use Policy (AUP) details what is and what is not acceptable use of the APANA network. The AUP can be altered by the Management Committee, but the convention has been that no alteration should be made without proper consultation and the clear support of members. Every member of APANA is responsible for ensuring that traffic originating from their site complies with the AUP. A current copy of the AUP is available at http://www.apana.org.au One of the most important clauses in the AUP is the ban on commercial use of the APANA network.

14. Why ban commercial use?

The ban on commercial use originally came about for both ethical and more pragmatic reasons. APANA, both the non-profit organisation and the network, is run by volunteers who put a great amount of their own time and money towards its operation. Without them, APANA simply wouldn't exist. It was felt that allowing members to use APANA for commercial gain was not compatible with the spirit in which APANA was formed, not to mention exploitative of its volunteers. On the more pragmatic side, APANA has bandwidth and volume restrictions on its network. Commercial users were recognised as being likely to place proportionately greater strain on the network than "hobbyists". There was also the reality that APANA is not a "service provider". It doesn't provide a "service" in the commercial sense and membership of APANA gives no guarantee of service levels or performance, which commercial users expect. APANA also wanted to create an environment in which its members would be encouraged to volunteer and become active members of the organisation who were enthusiastic about its purpose. Commercial use of the network was seen to discourage that. One-off, private sales by individuals of second-hand goods, without excessive advertising, are not considered commercial use.

15. Where can I find the latest revision of this FAQ?

A current copy of this FAQ can be found at: http://www.apana.org.au

16. How do I suggest additions or corrections to this FAQ?

By mailing your suggestion or correction to mc-only@apana.org.au

17. What if I still have questions about APANA®?

Send an email to mc-only@apana.org.au. There are plenty of APANA members qualified to answer them.


This FAQ was written by Geoffrey Newman, based on the the work done by David Keegel on the original APANA FAQ.  It was last updated 28th February 2017.

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