FidoNet consists of approximately 10,000 systems world-wide which comprise a network which exchanges mail and files via Modems using a proprietary protocol. They are connected for the purposes of exchanging E-Mail to the Internet thru a series of gateway systems which interact with the Internet via UUCP with cooperating UNIX-based smart-hosts which act as their MX-receivers.
FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems (BBSes). It uses a store-and-forward system to exchange private (email) and public (forum) messages between the BBSes in the network, as well as other files and protocols in some cases.
The FidoNet system was based on a number of small interacting programs. Only one of these interacted with the BBS system directly and was the only portion that had to be ported to support other BBS software. This greatly eased porting, and FidoNet was one of the few networks that was widely supported by almost all BBS software, as well as a number of non-BBS online services. This modular construction also allowed FidoNet to easily upgrade to new data compression systems, which was important in an era using modem-based communications over telephone links with high long-distance calling charges.
The rapid improvement in modem speeds during the early 1990s, combined with the rapid decrease in price of computer systems and storage, made BBSes increasingly popular. By the mid-1990s there were almost 40,000 FidoNet systems in operation, and it was possible to communicate with millions of users around the world.