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A Brief Summary of IRC Networks- by Chris Wenham

The main problem with the IRC protocol is that it wasn't designed to handle the huge amounts of traffic that users demand and create daily while chatting. There's also the problem of noise and the vast lists of channels that one must wade through in order to find the one you want. To help with this problem, many new IRC networks have emerged. Some are specialized while others cater to everyone and every subject.


The grandmother of IRC networks, the biggest, the oldest, the meanest. Probably not a place you want to let your children go loose on. Prepare to wait 15 minutes for the listing of channels to come up.

Efnet has become more popular because it is so popular, "everyone is there" and it's the network many clients go to by default after a fresh installation. It does have a good OS/2 hangout though, the channel #OS/2.

Some example Efnet servers:
Canada: irc.cadvision.ab.ca:6667
Europe: irc.bofh.co.uk:6667
US: irc.cerf.net:6667


One of the first 'alternative' networks to arise after Efnet. It's the home of another #OS/2 channel. Undernet is beginning to look a lot like Efnet with the presence of many channels and users, splits and lag.

Some example Undernet servers:
Canada: toronto.on.ca.undernet.org:6667
Random European server: eu.undernet.org:6667
Random US server: us.undernet.org:6667


The third major IRC network and land of dragons. Dalnet is most notable for its features not found in most other networks. It supports nicknames up to 30 characters long (check your client first to make sure it can too), can reserve your nickname so nobody can 'steal' it, and can reserve a channel that you 'own'.

Some example Dalnet servers:
Random Dalnet server: irc.dal.net:7000
Canada: toronto.DAL.net:7000
Europe: hades.DAL.net:7000

The Others...

There are so many other smaller networks it would take too long to cover them all. Some are geared toward a particular region, such as BrasNet in Brazil (irc.americasnet.com.br:6667) or Austnet (sydney.au.austnet.org:6667). Here's a brief list of other networks and an example server for each that you can try.

Afternet - blacklodge.c2.org:6667
Anothernet - together.vt.us.another.net:6667
ChatNet - LosAngeles.CA.US.ChatNet.Org:6667
GalaxyNet - chicago.il.us.galaxynet.org:6667
StarLink - Denver.CO.US.StarLink.Org:6667

Chris Wenham is a Team OS/2er in Binghamton, NY with a catchy-titled company -- Wenham's Web Works. He has written comedy, sci-fi, HTML, Pascal, C++ and now writes software reviews.

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