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X.400 , often also called Message Handling System ( MHS ), is an e-mail system based on the OSI model and an alternative to Internet e-mail .

The standard was published in 1984 by the CCITT (now ITU ) and expanded in 1988. The ISO describes the system in its ISO 10021 standard , which is based on the 1988 standard, as the Message Oriented Text Interchange System (MOTIS) .

In Germany, X.400 is often still known under the old brand name Telebox400 of the Deutsche Bundespost . The successor, Deutsche Telekom, is now calling it BusinessMail X.400 .

X.400 is often used for the transmission of EDI messages, e.g. B. used in the European food trade.

From X.400 (1988), access to the message store takes place via the P7 protocol defined in X.419 from the user agent  (UA) to the message store  (MS). The exchange of messages takes place using a Message Transfer System (MTS), which can consist of one or more Message Transfer Agents (MTA) and gateways to non-X.400 systems. Telekom Deutschland GmbH also offers a client for the transmission of messages, which can transmit messages based on the P7 protocol. This client software is called Filework for Windows (all versions) and is now in version 5.2.2. Filework also has a script interface with which the program independently transmits messages in both directions and processes them accordingly.

The MTA is the central component for exchanging messages with other X.400 systems. Using pre-configured routing information, the MTA uses the X.400 destination address to decide which route to use to forward the messages to the recipient. An X.400 address has a hierarchical structure and uniquely identifies the sender and recipient. Since July 1, 2012, SMTP MTAs can also be networked with the BusinessMail X.400 system. This ensures connectivity to current, common e-mail servers such as B. "sendmail" or "postfix", which are part of every Linux system, have been significantly expanded. This increases the compatibility with other systems and at the same time lowers the customer's service costs.

In contrast to Internet e-mail, there are only domain operators known by name in the global X.400 network and traceable ways in which messages are moved through the network. For this reason, when using X.400, messages are partially not encrypted.

Along with AS2, X.400 is one of the most common forms of communication used in professional electronic data exchange. Whether a company uses X.400 or AS2 depends on how the company weights certain operating costs and which EDI infrastructure it has. With AS2, the provider fees for the X.400 service can be saved. This saving is offset by a higher cost in-house for the administration of the regularly renewed, partner-specific certificates and the operation of an uninterrupted EDI system. With X.400, the X.400 provider stands between two EDI systems so that the two partners do not communicate directly with one another. Connection tests with a new partner connection or the elimination of connection problems with X.400 are also easier because this is abstracted from the direct communication partner. Since the beginning of 2014 there has been a free pilot operation for the introduction of the Odette File Transfer Protocol (OFTP). OFTP is used as a transmission protocol primarily for electronic business data exchange in the automotive industry, i.e. between automobile manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banks. From October 1st, 2015, OFTP access was officially transferred to productive operation and also offered.

As part of the German Research Network , in which most of the academic institutions were involved, an X.400-compliant product with the name EAN was offered from 1985 . According to the needs of the scientific community, there were gateways to BITNET and EARN as well as to the Internet in the network . Due to the worldwide dominance of TCP / IP -based applications, the product became obsolete in the early 1990s.

Norms and standards

The following recommendations were developed under the control of the CCITT and ratified by the ITU (CCITT). They form the X.400 standard (1988), which extends the X.400 standard (1984).

  • Recommendation X.400, Message Handling: System and Service Overview, ITU (CCITT) Blue Book, Fascicle VIII.7, International Telecommunications Union, 1988 (see ISO 10021-1)
  • Recommendation X.402, Message Handling Systems: Overall Architecture, (see ISO 10021-2)
  • Recommendation X.403, Message Handling Systems: Conformance Testing
  • Recommendation X.407, Message Handling Systems: Abstract Service Definition Conventions (see ISO 10021-3)
  • Recommendation X.408, Message Handling Systems: Encoded Information Type Conversion Rules (see ISO 10021-1)
  • Recommendation X.411, Message Handling Systems: Message Transfer System: Abstract Service Definition and Procedures (see ISO 10021-4)
  • Recommendation X.413, Message Handling Systems: Message Store: Abstract Service definition (see ISO 10021-5)
  • Recommendation X.419, Message Handling Systems: Protocol Specifications (see ISO 10021-6)
  • Recommendation X.420, Message Handling Systems: Interpersonal Messaging System (see ISO 10021-7)
  • MHS Implementor's Guide, Version 5, Source: ITU (CCITT) Special Rapporteur Group on Message Handling Systems (Question 18 / VII) and ISO / IEC JTC 1 / SC 18 / WG 4 SWG ​​on Messaging, ITU, February 22, 1991

Individual evidence

  1. RFC 987 with reference to the X.400 product EAN

Web links

  • itu.int / ... - X.400 standard text from ITU (English)
  • ITU-T OB.974 (2011) Operational Bulletin No.974 (15.II.2011) and Annexed List: List of Names of Administration Management Domains (ADMD) (In accordance with ITU-T F.400 and X.400 series Recommendations) (Position on February 15, 2011)
  • www.service-viat.de - Service website of Telekom Deutschland GmbH with clear information on the scope of services and also variants such as AS2 with X.400, MessageGate X.400, Internet mail gateway - SMTP etc.