This Preferences page contains options that control how zMUD converts host names into IP addresses. Most of these preferences are local to the specific character.
In order to connect to a MUD, zMUD needs to know the IP address (four numbers separated by dots) of the MUD. However, you normally use a Host Name to refer to a MUD since the actual IP address of a MUD can change if they move to a new server. So, zMUD must normally convert a host name into an IP address. The Internet protocol used to perform this conversion is know as the Domain Name Service (DNS). zMUD queries your default DNS server and gives it the host name. The DNS server responds with the current IP address of that host name. If your DNS server cannot be contacted, then zMUD cannot convert host names and you must then enter the IP address itself into the Hostname field.
The DNS protocol is called an "unreliable" protocol because successful transmission of the information is not guaranteed by the network. If you have a bad network connection, packets can be lost and DNS packets are not automatically retransmitted. Thus, zMUD tries several times to contact the DNS server if the first attempt fails. The parameters on this screen control these retries.
zMUD starts with a quick DNS conversion attempt and waits only the number of seconds in the "Min Timeout" field for a response. If you have a fast DNS server and a good network connection, this first attempt will usually succeed. If it fails (no response within the Min Timeout number of seconds), then zMUD increases the delay time for a response by the "Timeout Inc" value and tries again. If there is still no DNS response, zMUD again adds the Timeout Inc value and continues doing this and retrying until the Max Timeout value is reached. If a successful DNS conversion cannot be made in the Max Timeout number of seconds, zMUD gives up and displays an error dialog asking you to input the IP address yourself if you know it.
The default parameters are Min: 1, Inc: 1, Max: 5. Thus, zMUD will first try for one second, then two seconds, then three seconds, then four seconds, and finally for five seconds. If you DNS server is down or misconfigured, zMUD will therefore wait 15 seconds before displaying the lookup error message (1+2+3+4+5 = 15).