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On Windows and Macintosh, Jabber is the instant messaging (IM) system that allows MIT users to communicate with one another and Jabber users elsewhere on the Internet.

On Athena, there are two primary messaging services: Zephyr and Jabber. Zephyr is used internally at MIT but Jabber can be used to communicate both with other MIT users and with other chat services that use the Jabber protocol (such as Google Talk/Gmail Chat).

Available To 
Students, Faculty, Staff

Benefits and key features

The MIT Jabber service:

  • Offers both individual and group text messaging options.
  • Supports creation and joining of chat rooms for group communication.
  • Includes support for other instant messaging systems such as AIM (AOL) and YIM (Yahoo).
  • Learn more

Zephyr is built into Athena, and has a larger student user community than Jabber. Learn more about Zephyr on Athena.


To use Jabber on a Windows or Macintosh operating system, install one of the following IM clients:

For Athena, there are two options:

Getting started

On Macintosh or Windows, configure either Pidgin or Adium with the following Jabber settings:

  • Server (domain):
  • Connect Server:
  • Port Number: 5222
  • Username: your MIT Kerberos ID
  • Security: Use TLS Encryption, if possible

On Athena, everything is built in, so you can just get started, or learn more about IM on Athena if you need some guidance.