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Universal Software, Inc (Brookfield, CT) has announced that its Universal-Link file transfer and mailboxing system for MVS and VSE now supports the TCP/IP protocol.

In addition to TCP/IP, Universal-Link supports the traditional BSC/3780, Async, SNA LU 1 and LU6.2 protocols and enables MVS and VSE installations to send and receive data between the host computer and a variety of systems, including PCs, minicomputers, mainframes and VANs (Value-Added Networks). lt is used for applications requiring completely unattended operations such as Eletronic Commerce (EDI, EFT, ACH), POS Polling, RJE and others

Now, together with corporate LAN/WAN capability, Universal-Link's TCP/IP client/server support enables mainframe enterprises to take advantage of the economy of the Internet while preserving the control, security and reliability of private networks. In contrast to FTP servers, Universal-Link TCP/IP puts the mainframe in complete control of all data transfers. Remote users have no access to the mainframe files or other applications - they can receive only the data prepared for them in their unique Universal-Link mainframe mailbox. Complete data security is further ensured with Universal-Link's automatic end-to-end encryption techniques.


As you are aware, every TCP/IP implementation comes with an FTP client and server application. FTP has evolved in the Unix world for many years before becoming popular first with PCs and now recently with IBM mainframes, FTP is quite powerful and fairly efficient and is rapidly becoming a valuable tool in most enterprises-even on the corporate mainframe.

What then is the value of TCP/IP Support in Universal-Link since FTP is available wherever TCP/IP is available?

The design philosophy and operation of Universal-Link is dramatically different from FTP. Either system can be used in most instances, but usually one approach or the other is better suited for a particular data transfer requirement.

There are many file transfer systems available for IBM mainframes today. Universal-Link is one of the most adaptable, and in many cases, it is the best available solution for your particular needs.

The specific differences between FTP and Universal-Link are discussed in the following paragraphs:


FTP is a classic client/server application

The FTP server responds to requests and commands from the client. The client controls the file transfers. In some cases this is ideal, but in many other cases elaborate and extensive security measures must be added to prevent widespread misuse and abuse of your corporate data.

Universal-Link leaves the mainframe in complete control. Data is loaded into outbound mailboxes via regularly scheduled batch jobs. Universal-Link clients have only access to their own data in their own mailbox with no security nightmares. In addition, Universal-Links low-overhead, end-to-end encryption techniques ensures complete data security.

Unattended Operations

Universal-Link is ideal for regularly scheduled transfers ,fully automated and unattended at both ends.

Although the FTP client side can be scripted to some extent, it's not generally as suitable.

Multiple Protocols

The fact that Universal-Link supports multiple protocols allows the possibility for a single system with a single method of operation and a single learning curve to continue to serve your file transfer requirements.

FTP, of course, supports only TCP/IP

The Internet

The Internet offers an opportunity for dramatic savings in switched line telephone costs. If you make or receive 50 to 100 or more switched line calls (dial out or 800 line answer), then you will be tempted to investigate the use of the Internet.

Opening up your mainframe to the Internet, however, can be fraught with danger without the use of a closed system like Universal-Link. For instance if you use FTP there already exists millions of computers with FTP client software that can talk to your server

Universal-Link, on the other hand, will only talk to a Universal-Link client (ULFTP). If Universal-Link is the only application on your TCP/IP stack, then there is no danger of unauthorized access to your mainframe. Furthermore, when you purchase Universal-Link TCP/IP client and server, they come as a matched pair. That is, your Universal-Link server will not talk to someone elses ULFTP client.

Lastly, each of your ULFTP clients is automatically protected from accessing each others data by embedded client IDs that you control (LOCID's) and passwords that each client controls. Complete data security is further ensured with Universal-Link low-overhead end-to-end encryption techniques.


Universal-Link is not intended to render FTP obsolete but rather to provide your enterprise with an additional secure file transfer mechanism to utilize where appropriate.

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