EMAIL - AFTN GATEWAY (QSSMail)
QSSMail is a program, installed as an extension to the National AFTN Message Switch, which on the AFTN side looks like a standard Annex 10 terminal with a single AFTN address and Channel ID. On the client side it acts as a Mail Server using POP3 and SMTP protocol (including secure socket layer if required) capable of receiving and sending correctly formatted email messages.
QSSMail converts Internet e-mail messages from approved senders into Annex 10 format AFTN messages and forwards these messages to your AFTN switching centre either via LAN or serial link. QSSMail has its own AFTN Circuit ID and AFTN address and maintains the required Annex 10 sequence numbers for all received messages. Annex 10 format AFTN messages received from the AFTN centre, for approved e-mail recipients, are converted into standard Internet e-mail format and dispatched to your Internet Service Provider.
At specified intervals a connection is made to the ISP and all incoming mail downloaded and outgoing AFTN messages dispatched. The ISP connection is then disconnected. All received AFTN mail is dispatched in Annex 10 format, including a generated header line, to the AFTN. Non AFTN mail is filed in original Internet format in a designated directory or can be redirected in an AFTN envelope to a Supervisor AFTN Address.
Users wishing to send and receive AFTN messages via the internet must be registered with QSSMail. This involves the allocating of an AFTN address (4 character location indicator + YYYX for unassigned AFTN locations) to the users e-mail address in the QSSMail Address Book. In addition, a list of AFTN addresses or partial addresses specifying the AFTN destinations this user can send AFTN messages to may be entered.
Messages received from the AFTN centre are dispatched to the e-mail addresses in the Address book that match the AFTN addresses in the received message. At the discretion of the AFTN Administration, Guest connections can be enabled which permit the receipt of AFTN messages from the Internet from temporary unregistered users, for example, to solicit flight briefing and weather information from an online database. The AFTN addresses acceptable from Guest users can be strictly controlled. Guest user connections lapses after a short time.
QSSMail assigns sequential numbers to messages received from the internet and verifies the sequence numbers of messages received from the AFTN Centre. Annex 10 service messages are generated on the detection of number errors. Channel check procedures can be configured to loop channel check messages received from the AFTN, throught the Internet as e-mail, and back to the AFTN, thus verifing the full path.
A configuration option forces all received email messages to be displayed for operator approval before being forwarded to the AFTN.
For administrations that charge for external access to their country's AFTN system, QSSMail can be configured to create a transaction file, either in comma separated values or in Microsoft Excel format for post processing by a billing program.
CONNECTION TO THE AFTN
QSSMail runs on Microsoft Windows 7 or newer on an industry standard PC with two serial ports and PS2 style mouse. Connection to the internet ISP can be either by dial up modem or dedicated ethernet connection. Connection to your country's AFTN message switch is via TCP/IP or dedicated serial RS232 asynchronous line at any speed from 1200 to 9600 baud, ITA 5. Optional low speed connection (50 or 75 baud) using ITA 2 is available.
Any standard e-mail software can be used to send AFTN messages via the internet, however a low cost AFTN specific e-mail package, MessageMate Mail, is available to provide a template driven message generation capability and e-mail receive and print facility.