Definition of TELNET in Network Encyclopedia.

What is Telnet?

Telnet is a standard TCP/IP protocol for running programs on remote hosts. The term “telnet” also refers to the software (client or server component) that implements this protocol on a particular platform or system. Telnet is defined in Request for Comments (RFC) 854.


How Telnet Works

Telnet is a terminal emulation program, which is a command-line interface for issuing commands on a remote computer. A user running telnet client software can interactively run command-line applications on a remote host that is running the telnet service or daemon. The user enters information at the telnet client; this information is processed on the telnet server and its output is returned to the user.

For example, if you use telnet to connect to a UNIX server, you can issue UNIX commands to remotely perform operations on that server.

Running Telnet Client on Windows

Windows 98 and Windows 95 have a ready to use Telnet client application.

To use Telnet on recent versions of Windows (like Windows 10) you have to add that option from Windows features.

Telnet syntax

To connect to a Telnet Server open a command line and type according to the following syntax:

telnet hostname port

For example, launch Command Prompt and enter telnet 23. This command connects to on port 23 using Telnet.

Telnet Commands

NAME               CODE              MEANING

      SE                  240    End of subnegotiation parameters.
      NOP                 241    No operation.
      Data Mark           242    The data stream portion of a Synch.
                                 This should always be accompanied
                                 by a TCP Urgent notification.
      Break               243    NVT character BRK.
      Interrupt Process   244    The function IP.
      Abort output        245    The function AO.
      Are You There       246    The function AYT.
      Erase character     247    The function EC.
      Erase Line          248    The function EL.
      Go ahead            249    The GA signal.
      SB                  250    Indicates that what follows is
                                 subnegotiation of the indicated
      WILL (option code)  251    Indicates the desire to begin
                                 performing, or confirmation that
                                 you are now performing, the
                                 indicated option.
      WON'T (option code) 252    Indicates the refusal to perform,
                                 or continue performing, the
                                 indicated option.
      DO (option code)    253    Indicates the request that the
                                 other party perform, or
                                 confirmation that you are expecting
                                 the other party to perform, the
                                 indicated option.
      DON'T (option code) 254    Indicates the demand that the
                                 other party stop performing,
                                 or confirmation that you are no
                                 longer expecting the other party
                                 to perform, the indicated option.
      IAC                 255    Data Byte 255.

Telnet on Windows NT

Microsoft Windows NT includes a telnet client implemented as a Microsoft Windows application, but does not include telnet server software. Windows 2000 includes both a telnet client implemented as a command-line utility and telnet server software that supports up to 63 simultaneous client connections but is licensed to only provide up to two simultaneous client connections.

If you require support for additional client connections, you should obtain the Windows Services for UNIX add-on pack for Windows 2000 Server.

Using Telnet for troubleshooting purposes

You can use a telnet client to connect to a Web server on port 80 or a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail server on port 25 and issue Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or SMTP commands directly to the server for troubleshooting purposes.

External references:


Articles posted after being checked by editors.

Recent Content