A Value-Added Network (VAN) is an electronic post office that routes transaction files from one subscriber to another, much like email. VANs may also perform file format and protocol translation, archival and other services, which is why they are referred to as “value-added” networks.
The use of VANs to transmit ANSI-standard X12 electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions is a well established and highly reliable method of conducting machine-to-machine business. The DOD makes substantial use of EDI in its day to day operations, operating several of its own VANs, with which DOD-certified VANs interchange data. The DoD VANs, called Network Entry Points, were left out of the picture at right for simplicity.
The Mil-Pac VAN has been in service since 1999, supporting WAWF, DLA (DIBBS, EMall, VMI, IRM), the IUID Registry and other defense initiatives. Communications with the Mil-Pac VAN are highly integrated into Mil-Pac products. In fact, the Mil-Pac VAN exists only to allow Mil-Pac software to interchange with DoD activities. This allows us to provide very specialized technical support and keep the cost very low.
What is SFTP/SSH2?
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) is a common method of transferring files over the Internet. When done in a Secure Shell (SSH2) it is referred to as SFTP over SSH2 (SFTP/SSH2).
Use of the Mil-Pac VAN is not required for MIL-Comply. Users are free to use SFTP/SSH2 for WAWF Combos and RFID Pack Updates. SFTP/SSH transactions are visible only to the WAWF Help Desk, making it difficult for Mil-Pac to provide support. SFTP/SSH users are responsible for acquiring a SFTP/SSH client for each user, configuring and troubleshooting, getting WAWF network security approval and JITC certification.
The Mil-Pac VAN is considerably easier to setup and use. Just plug in an access key and start sending transactions to WAWF. Its use allows our technical support team to directly assist should problems arise with shipments or invoices.
Value-Added Network Benefits
- Superior Technical Support – Mil-Pac’s acclaimed support – versus the WAWF Help Desk
- No SSH/SFTP Client to buy or support – VAN communications are a seamless part of Mil-Pac software
- Setup is quick and easy – without support from your internal IT resources.
- Immediate Availability – No lengthy delays due to:
- Security Screening (DD2875 approval is not required)
- JITC Testing – Mil-Pac is certified by DLA and DAAS, and undergoes regular JITC testing
- Trace-ability / Accountability
- As a DoD-certified VAN, Mil-Pac can provide evidence of transaction submission from archives, something not available with SFTP/SSH2 submissions.
- Government provides electronic receipt for each transaction submitted via the Mil-Pac VAN
- Transaction errors can be readily diagnosed – SFTP/SSH2 transactions are inaccessible after submission, creating a technical support challenge.
- Pro-active support – transaction results are monitored for translation failures
- Notifications of selection transaction types, such as inbound purchase orders, IUID Registry Responses, and EDI failures.
- Low cost – less than $40 per month – no charge per transaction (See Note 1)
- Good value – fast service, expert support
- Transactions DLA Contract Awards (meets DLA EDI requirements)
- Supports Direct IUID Registry transactions
- To prevent abuse, transactions are 27 cents each after a 400 per month limit, which few defense contractors ever get close to.