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AS2, AS3, FTP, FTP/s, HTTP and HTTP/s Protocols

using LexiCom from CTI Communications

    

AS2 (Applicability Statement 2 protocol) helps users connect, deliver, validate and reply to data that trading partners move securely through the Internet.  This protocol thereby establishes a standard point-to-point connection in B2B (Business to Business) document transactions.  Stated another way, AS2 provides the means by which vendor applications communicate EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) documents, or other data such as XML, over the Internet using HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol).  Further, AS2 defines a security system that wraps the data in an envelope with a digital certificate.

Recently, this AS2 protocol was adopted by Wal-Mart the worlds largest retailer for their trading partners.  And, the AS2 protocol is available through the use of a software package named LexiCom developed by Cleo Communications. 

LexiCom AS2 Screen Shots

AS3 Information is outlined below

For Pricing and Order Forms call 201-563-7800

Fill out This Form and we will contact you.

AS/400 Info (Word Document)

Want a Demo/Installation video? Click to view the video -approximately 17 minutes long.

CTI Communications is your source for Cleo's LexiCom AS2, AS3 and Other File Transfer Products for Windows PCs, UNIX, Linux Platforms and AS/400s. 

LexiCom can be purchased for Hosts requiring AS2, AS3, FTP, Secure FTP, HTTP and Secure HTTP/s, File Transfers.  

For Pricing and Order Forms call 201-563-7800 or Fill out This Form and we will contact you
Secure, Automated e-Transfer

The LexiCom software package lets trading partners securely transfer critical business documents to and from their widely distributed trading partners over the Internet, VANs, or other specialized TCP/IP networks. Users can transfer and receive everything from POs, invoices, and shipping notices to insurance claims, medical records, clinical data, retail reports, and more. Users can also schedule transmissions to occur automatically, at whatever intervals required.

  • Works with the major trading community networks.
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  • Uses proven IP protocols FTP, HTTP and EDIINT AS2 allowing users to communicate with multiple trading partners.
  • Integration with the leading EDI software packages reduces operator-training time.
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  • Pre-configuration offers quick set-up.
  • Operates on PCs, Unix and AS/400 computers
  • Built-in security protects proprietary transactions.
  • "100% Java" makes it platform independent.
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  • Perpetual log file monitors and verifies all transmissions.
Trading Hubs and VANs

A LexiCom user can take advantage of pre-configured “hosts,” available for all major trading-partner servers and VANs. 

When a specific host is activated, the user will find that most set-up information for that host is already entered, so all that is typically required is to edit the default entries in the input fields.  This significantly reduces installation time. For advanced users, generic host types are also available, allowing for full flexibility of configuration. 

 

Pre-configured Major Trading-Partner Servers and VAN Hosts

  • Wal-Mart AS2 (U.S./Canada/SAMs) see FAQs below covering Wal-Mart
  • Family Dollar Stores AS2 (scheduled)
  • Food Lion AS2
  • Gottschalk's
  • Giant Eagle AS2
  • Hub Distribution AS2
  • Kohl's AS2
  • Kraft AS2
  • Lowe's AS2
  • McKesson AS2 (in progress)
  • McLane AS2
  • Meijer AS2s
  • Michaels Craft Stores FTPs
  • Petco
  • Procter & Gamble AS2
  • Target AS2 (in progress)
  • Winn-Dixie AS2
  • ===================
  • i360 Technologies
  • Amazon. COM
  • Army / Air Force AAFES
  • Bank of America HTTPs
  • BMW Mfg FTPs
  • DaimlerChrysler's EBMX (HTTPs)
  • DeCA AS2
  • Dollar General AS2
  • ECXpress FTPs
  • EDI*Express
  • EDS' ELIT FTPs
  • Ford's GEC Hub FTP
  • Global eXchange Services ICS AS2
  • GXS Tradanet
  • GXS ICS FTP
  • GXS ICS FTPs
  • Hannaford AS2
  • IBM Business Exchange AS2
  • IBM FTP Dial-up
  • IBM IE FTPs
  • ICC.NET AS2
  • Kleinschmidt AS2
  • MMI
  • Sterling Commerce AS2
  • Sterling Commerce FTP
  • Sterling Information Broker
  • UCCnet AS2 Certificated Solution
  • UPS AS2
  • Wells Fargo Bank
Other Questions?  Call CTI.  Need an up-grade to your current 3780 BSC Wal-Mart Access Program?  Click  here and tell us how we can help you

With the Cleo family of LexiCom products, you'll find many proven ways to link your remote systems to host systems.

FAQs Regarding Wal-Mart and their AS2 Requirement

Question.  At present, we use 3780 BSC to communicate with Wal-Mart.  Our PC dials to a dedicated phone number in US according to pre-arranged schedule. After login Wal-Mart's mailbox, it runs a few scripts to send and receive files automatically. What will the workflow be after moving to AS2?

Answer: The AS2 protocol that Wal-Mart will be using is part of a "push" technology that will require your department to have your PC up and running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because they will be contacting you (versus you contacting them which is the current case).  Other than this change, the rest of your "system" can still be automated.

Question.  Our system is developed internally. How could we integrate AS2 into it? Which package should we buy? The transmission now is fully automated. We wish to keep this feature in AS2.

Answer:  You should purchase the base LexiCom software that includes the AS2 protocol (alone with other protocols if you need them like FTP, sFTP, HTTP, HTTPs, etc.) .  The LexiCom package can be fully automated just like your current system.  The exact LexiCom package that you need to purchase will depend on whether your operation deals with other companies that will require the AS2 protocol.  If Wal-Mart is the only one, then the standard package would be okay.  If your operation anticipates using AS2 with other companies in the future (e.g., Meijer's, K-mart, J.C. Penny, Target, etc.), then, again,buy the base LexiCom package and add other companies for a small additional charge.

Question.  The web-page says AS2 is for WalMart US and Canada.  We are interfacing with WalMart Germany and ASDA at the same time. Shall we support AS2 for US and CA and 3780 for Germany and ASDA concurrently?

Answer:  The LexiCom AS2 package has not been set-up to include Wal-Mart Germany.  The base LexiCom will operate for Wal-Mart US, Canada, and SAMs Clubs.  Wal-Mart Germany may not, in fact, be included in the move to AS2 at this time.  You better check with Wal-Mart Germany to get the correct answer to this question.  Same answer applies for other operations like the ASDA - contact them and ask.   When required you can continue to use your 3780 BSC communication linkages.

Question.  When shift from 3780 to AS2, is there any change on WalMart side that should be coordinated together? Is it done country-by-country or one-for-all?

Answer:  This question, I believe, has been already answered above.

Question. Is there any exact plan as to when the 3780 will be phased out?

Answer:  We have been told unofficially by Wal-Mart that the old 3780 protocol will probably be around for a year.  Nevertheless, when they advise their specific suppliers to move to AS2, they do not mean to say you have an option to keep using 3780 for a year.  They will want to you move to AS2 within a "reasonable" time frame.  "Reasonable" would probably be defined as 30 to 90 days after your operation is notified to make the make the switch to AS2.

Question.  Are there other options except 3780 and AS2?

Answer:  Supposedly, in the case of Wal-Mart, there is no "option" at all except to use AS2 (at least in the North American Market).  Wal-Mart is phasing-out the older 3780 protocol.

Question.  Where can I get more technical details about AS2 and LexiCom so that I could study how much SCB will change for it?

Answer:  Our AS2-LexiCom web page pretty much covers what you need to know.  However, you can always order a 30 day full version "DEMO" copy of LexiCom where you would have access to more technical information on the CD-ROM itself.  If you want a DEMO package sent to you - please advise us as to the exact/specific address where we should sent it.

Question:  On a Win2003 server does this just need IIS loaded or is  there some other supporting software I need to be aware of?  Is there anything we need to be aware when building the server for this software? 

Answer:  No, you don't need IIS.   IIS is an HTTP SERVER.   The EBMX HTTPs program is an HTTP CLIENT.  The only thing you need other than the EBMX HTTPs software is the latest version of the java runtime environment.

MORE TECHNICAL QUESTIONS/ANSWERS

QuestionHow we could integrate this new AS2 software in our actual network structure.  The first server we have on our DSL line is a firewall + HTTPS, we would like to put the "AS2 Server" behind this machine. Is that possible ? Would it be a problem to receive file?

Answer:  You must be able to create a network address translation mapping from the external IP address and HTTP port on the firewall back to the machine running AS2 within the network. The IP address must be static not dynamic

Question: We have to provide a URL+URI to upload their files.  Can you handle this?

Answer: Yes. AS2 requires a static IP address and open Inbound tcp/http port...usually selected from ports above 1023.

Question: Regarding the need to able to make a network address translation mapping, as we have apache in the front machine, can this be done by translating a specific path?

Answer: This mapping of a URL is accomplished by a DNS (domain name server) and can be done as suggested by Armelle. This URL must always point back to the machine that has the AS2 software and must also specify the chosen inbound open HTTP or HTTP/s port used by the AS2 listener. Cleo (LexiCom) does not provide DNS services...that would be the customers responsibility.

Question:  Can your AS2 provide a transfer receipt of type SHA-1?

Answer: Yes. LexiCom supports SHA-1 MDNs (receipts).

Question:  Can your AS2 package also use encryption to send and receive the files (I guess this is done by the use of HTTPS protocol)?

Answer:  Yes.  Encryption within most AS2 environments is done using S/Mime not HTTP/s...LexiCom supports both.

Question:  How much can we integrate your software into our own developments.  For example, is there an API in Java allowing to send a file by AS2 or does it starts only by a command line?

Answer: LexiCom has and Java-based API as well as a command line interface ....most of the integration we have worked with have been file based integrations.

AS3 Information

Cleo LexiCom will support AS3 later this year.  Simply stated...

  • The AS3 transport is S/MIME over FTP.
  • AS3 is a client/server model like FTP (as opposed to "peer-to-peer" like AS2).
  • AS3 uses MDN's (receipt notifications) like AS2.

The following are a few additional comments regarding AS3...

  • The client initiates "sends" and "receives" just like FTP.
  • Client-side AS3 does not require a listener to be always aware of inbound traffic, so a persistent Internet connection is NOT required.  Dial-up Internet connections are fine.  (AS2 does require a persistent connection for the listener.
  • The exact details of the spec are far from solid.  Cleo helped design the initial Drummond Certification definition scheduled for late this year.  There are still a number of questions that need to be resolved.

The following is a short excerpt from our current internal AS3 specification that might be helpful.

The EDIINT family of secure MIME-based protocols includes AS1 (SMTP), AS2 (HTTP), and AS3 (FTP).  AS1 was and still is available from a number of companies, but is not widely used.  Cleo LexiCom does not support AS1.  Since its inception only a few years ago, AS2 has become an established, proven peer-to-peer solution.  Some proprietary implementations of AS3 exist, but not until later this year will Drummond Group host the first AS3 certification tests.  During this certification period, the protocol will in essence be standardized.

The original drafts outlined AS3 in a peer-to-peer (push/push) model like AS2.  However, using AS3/FTP peer-to-peer causes more security issues than AS2/HTTP (because there are more ports involved) and has no advantages over AS2/HTTP.   Because of this, Drummond Group will certify AS3 only in a client/server (push/pull) model.  This distinguishes AS3 and gives it viability partly because, with a client/server model, dial-up Internet users can now use EDIINT. 

Cleo will be adding support for AS3 to our LexiCom product and will be in the first round of testing with the Drummond Group later this year.


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