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What is Multi-protocol Message System?

The Multi-protocol Message System (MMS) is an AFTN and AMHS store-and-forward message switching system that maximizes the advantages of modern network techniques.

The MMS includes both the AFTN system and the remote AFTN intelligent terminals. The AFTN switch uses Intel-based servers and the AFTN/AMHS terminals use personal computers.

The MMS optionally includes an AFTN/AMHS gateway and an ATN router.

Company Background

Digital Resources, Inc. (DRI) was formed in 1981 by a former product development manager for the North American Philips Communications System Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Philips NV. DRI is located in the northernmost area of New Jersey, 35 miles northwest of New York city. One DRI location is used for fabrication, system integration, factory acceptance testing, training, and hardware and network technical support. Another location is used for software development and administrative offices.

DRI’s founder participated in the hardware and system design of the Philips store-and-forward message switching systems in both the Netherlands and the U.S.A. These communication systems were installed throughout the world in AFTN, Telex, weather message distribution systems, international CCITT F.31 message switching systems, and industrial/commercial microprocessor-based message preparation and delivery systems.

Design Philosophy

During the mid 1990’s three emerging trends had a significant impact on DRI’s product development plans during the design of the Multi-protocol Message System (MMS). As a result of these increasingly negative and significant trends, DRI designed the MMS to minimize or completely nullify the impact of these factors described on the page "Design Philosophy".

AFTN gateway security with VPN tunnels

The AFTN/AMHS gateway provides for the conversion of the rarely used OSI protocols, mandated by ICAO, to and from the much more widespread industry standard protocols, such as TCP/IP, Frame Relay, VPN, etc. Any combination of X.25, TCP/IP, Frame Relay, DSL, ISDN, or VPN network protocols can be used for the MMS.

Thus, the AFTN network becomes part of an organization wide intranet, that provides e-mail, document collaboration, file transfer, etc., services between staff members in different locations. As an intranet, it also can be used to provide local web-site hosting that all staff members can access with commercial browser programs, such as MS Internet Explorer or Netscape. Wherever it is necessary, the AFTN network can be kept functionally separate from the general purpose network by the installation of virtual-private-network (VPN) units that incorporate built-in firewalls. For those cases where the CAA has an existing WAN in operation, then the MMS AFTN system can be installed as a component of the existing WAN, with VPN/firewall units isolating the AFTN system from other non-AFTN network users.

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