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Internet Cargo Messaging
-EDIfly - Innovative Software Solutions S.A.R.L., Luxemburg

Type B messaging is still the most common method of exchanging messages in the air transport industry (ATI). Although costly, the Type B networks continue to be the only networks which interconnect all participants in the industry.

In an attempt to reduce the cost of Type B messaging, many industry participants have made bilateral agreements with the participant to whom they send most messages. Although these agreements do remove the cost of the actual transmission between the two parties, they still carry both direct and indirect costs in the form of leased lines between the parties, the management of VPN tunnels, message switching software, etc, as well as the support of these individual connections usually with varying communication protocols and security setups. More importantly, as these agreements are only bilateral, they are usually only in place between parties exchanging large quantities of messages.

EDIfly service can be regarded as a toll bypass solution that allows users of Type B and Type X messaging to send messages securely and reliably over the public internet. The service has been specifically designed to allow a seamless, secure, reliable and backwards compatible exchange of standard Type B and Type X over the internet between any members of the EDIfly service. This means that anyone who joins the EDIfly service will automatically start communicating with any other EDIfly user using the internet rather than the Type B or Type X network. Equally, as new members join the service, the existing members will automatically start to use the EDIfly service to exchange messages with the new members. The net effect is that all members will save money on transmission charges as the EDIfly network grows. The EDIfly service can also be used to eliminate the cost and complexity of bilateral message exchange setups.

EDIfly server pic

EDIfly also supports the EDIFACT messages using PIMA based addressing.

EDIflyTM Service

The EDIfly service is based on an EDIServer (or a message broker) that intercepts all Type B and Type X messages that would normally be transmitted via the Type B network. It forwards all messages addressed to other EDIfly users directly to their EDIServers over the internet thus bypassing the Type B or Type X network; only the messages addressed to non-EDIfly users are forwarded to the Type B or Type X network for processing. This means that no application changes are required to take advantage of the EDIfly service.

The EDIServer has been designed as a modern message broker and therefore includes a message distribution service allowing messages to be distributed to multiple back-end systems based on rules defined using any combination of the sender address, recipient address, or standard message identifier (SMI).

Back-end systems can be connected to the EDIServer using adapters; the following adapters are currently available and included in EDIfly:

File Input and Output Adapters allow messages to be passed to and from the EDIServer via either a local or remote file system.

FTP Input and Output Adapters allow the EDIServer to collect and store messages on a standard FTP server.

HTTP Post Input and Output Adapters allows messages to be passed to and from the EDIServer as standard HTTP Post requests.

Web Service Adapter allows messages to be send and received via a SOAP web service API.

MQ Series Input and Output Adapters provide the interface between the EDIServer and an IBM MQ Series based message infrastructure

JMS Input and Output Adapters provide the interface between the EDIServer and any JMS compliant message infrastructure

MATIP TypeB Adapter implements the MATIP Type B message protocol

SMTP Input and Output Adapters allow messages to be sent to and from the EDIServer as standard SMTP e-mail messages

POP3 Input Adapter enables the EDIServer to download messages from a POP3 mailbox

POP3 Output Adapter enables standard email clients to download messages from the EDIServer using standard POP3 clients

The EDIServer also includes a number of gateways which allow applications to print, send emails and fax by sending standard Type B messages to the EDIServer.

Each of the adapters connecting a back-end system can be individually configured to use one of five supported message formats

Standard Type B
Industry SDKs compatible data format
Type X

It is important to note that the first three formats are 100% compatible and interchangeable. Within the EDIServer, these three message formats are all translated into the same internal message format. This means that a message can be received in TypeB:XML but forwarded to a back-end system that uses the SDK or Type B format. In addition to this, the EDIServer also provides translation between EDIFACT and Type B as defined by IATA.

EDIflyTM Protocol

EDIfly is designed from the ground-up as a server-to-server network. This design ensures the highest possible level of performance, scalability and reliability, as the members of the community communicate directly with each other and therefore the service is not reliant on a central server infrastructure.

As Type B communication in general is characterized by the transmission of a large number of very small messages (on average less than 500 characters), the overhead per message of ordinary web protocols like SMTP or Web Services is very significant and makes these protocols unsuitable.

Therefore, the EDIfly protocol has been designed specifically to add as little overhead per message as possible while providing full data security and non- repudiation. Each message is first compressed to save bandwidth then digitally signed using the senderís private key and finally encrypted using the recipientsí public keys. This ensures that only the intended recipients are able to decrypt the message as only they hold the respective private keys. Before a message is consumed by a recipient, the digital signature is verified and a digitally signed receipt is sent back to the sender of the message. This setup not only provides a very high level of data security, but also technical non-repudiation; i.e. if a digitally signed receipt has been received then technically this constitutes undisputable proof of delivery of the message.

The EDIfly server-to-server protocol uses standard HTTP as the underlying transport protocol. This allows the protocol to take advantage of all standard HTTP compatible technologies and security infrastructures such as proxies, reverse proxies, multi- hosting, and URL mapping. The stateless nature of the HTTP protocol also provides a much higher performance than stateful protocols like SMTP.

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