Windows 5250 Emulation and File transfer: All in One Package

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We are a remote AS/400 site. If you’ve dealt with a remote, non-dial-up site you know that it’s the same as a local site, only different. In the somewhat comfortable world of MS-DOS, our PCs were emulating 5250 display sessions and doing file transfer on a regular basis. They coexisted with 3196 display terminals running over twinaxial lines, then through 5294 controllers, a leased 56-kilobit-per-second (Kbps) line, to an AS/400 using V2R2. All was perfect with the world.

Then, two things happened that put our world of connectivity into a tailspin. First, users began discovering Windows. Windows does a lot of things well. But file transfer, even from IBM’s emulation package for Windows, is not one of them. The manual and IBM tech support suggested running emulation under Windows and file transfer under a separate DOS session. With address spaces on the controllers limited, I ended up eliminating all but the necessary file transfers. Users who didn’t need file transfer used Windows for their emulation. Users who needed file transfer used DOS emulation. I began investigating ways to do file transfer under Windows. All was right with the world.

Several months ago, I got a call from one of our accountants. His emulation was not working. Later that same day, payroll called with the same problem. Both of these machines were the DOS machines used for file transfer. After spending two days trying to fix an undetermined problem, I learned that the AS/400 was updated to V2R3M0. The Windows PCs were using IBM 5250 Emulation for Windows software version 1.02, but the two DOS PCs would not connect to the AS/400. We installed 3196 display stations next to the PCs until the problem was solved.

Now we had IBM Windows software running display sessions and no file transfer anywhere in the building. We guessed that the IBM Windows software had a later version of PC Support 400. We upgraded the PC Support in the DOS machines and

gained nothing. IBM finally told us that the break point for support of the 5294 controllers was V2R3. If we wanted to do file transfer and use the newest version of PC Support we should use 5394 controllers. All was wrong with the world.

We purchased an I-O 8394Ei Remote Controller from I O Corp., Salt Lake City, Utah. After some minor adjustments, we were running DOS sessions and doing file transfer again. I like two things about this new controller. First, it accepts up to six cards. Each card is the equivalent of a 5394 controller and handles eight devices (yes, eight, not seven). This gives us a potential of 48 devices on a controller box the size of a PC mini- desktop case. This is an increase from the 40 devices their 8294 controller could handle. Second, the new controller is always in auto-config mode. The devices don’t need to be physically turned on every time you configure the controller’s software. With the old controller, we used a spare 3196 to configure a PC display session, then swapped the 3196 for the PC. This trick eliminated the timing problem between emulation time-outs and controller configuring. With the new controller, we simply run the twinaxial cable, plug it in, and turn the device on. The controller recognizes the device and reconfigures its software accordingly. All was right with the world, again.

I still wanted to solve the problem of file transfer under Windows. I purchased WinTronix APPC-Windows to AS/400 connectivity software version 2.0 from CONNECTronix in Salt Lake City, Utah. NetSoft’s NS/Router program came bundled with the WinTronix software, but is available separately. It promised to do file transfer from within the Windows environment with emulation running, as a single session. To be doubly sure, I also purchased one of their CC7251 PLUS e display station emulation cards. After installation and two calls to tech support, all promises of file transfer under Windows were fulfilled.

At this point, I would like to say that I’ve been using I O Corp and CONNECTronix products for several years, and their tech support departments are fabulous. They even went so far as to duplicate our remote setup in their lab to solve a configuration problem we were having. With emulation running in a window, completing a file transfer in Windows is a matter of five or six mouse clicks: Transfer, Download from AS400, Filename, OK, Execute, and Yes (if overwriting an existing file). Once again, all is perfect with the world.

Setting Up the Software

Our current setup is as follows: Hardware 80386DX-40 with 8MB of RAM CONNECTronix CC7251 PLUS Emulation Card Software
MS-Windows version 3.1,
MS-DOS 6.20 CONNECTronix CC7251 PLUS Emulator Software version 3.3 NET/Soft’s NS/Router version 4.12 (available from CONNECTronix) WinTronix/400 Windows to AS/400 Connectivity Software version 2.08

The setup steps are as follows:
1. Have the AS/400 system administrator change two fields in the device description file for this unit. TYPE should be changed to 5150, and MODEL should be changed to Model 1.

2. Two programs need to run memory resident before starting Windows or any other software in the PC. At the beginning of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file add the lines:

C:RONIXCONNAH.EXE (This is the CONNECTronix adapter handler program.)

C:NSROUTERNSTWINAX (This is a TSR that you must load if using a TWINAX link. It is used by the router to access the adapter interface software.)

3. In the WIN.INI file under the [NetSoft] section, be sure the following three lines are present and show accurate path information:

[NetSoft] NSRTR Path=C:NSROUTER NSRouter Path=C:NSROUTER NSROUTER.EXE NSRouterAutoRTR=C:WINDOWS CONFIG.RTR (Session config file for auto start-up.)

4. In the SYSTEM.INI under [386Enh] section, REM out the three DEVICE= lines installed by the setup software:

VN8022.386, VNSAINTD.386, and VNSBUFR.386.

5. Verify that you configure your CONFIG.SYS with the following: Use HIMEM.SYS Exclude the twinaxial adapter RAM address from EMM386,


BUFFERS at least 30 FILES at least 60 Remove any “FCBS=” statements

Configure NS/Router

Create a router configuration file by clicking on the NS/Router icon, then double clicking NS/Router Configurator. Here you enter information such as PC-to-AS/400 link type; adapter address; Net ID; common user ID; and AS/400 information such as system name, user id, and default link. When done, save the file. It is stored in the Windows subdirectory with an RTR extension. To start the router, click on the NS/Router icon, then double click NS/Router. When the router window appears, drag the SystemName tag from the upper right (Inactive) area to the lower right (Active) area. The message window on the left informs you of the progress of the connection.

Configure Display Session

Configuring your display session is the same as before. It just looks different under Windows. Open the WinTronix Emulation window, and double click the CONFIG icon. Answer the questions in the set-up box, click ADVANCED Options, answer these questions, then return to the initial window and save your display session. To begin a session, start the router as above, open the WinTronix Emulation window, double click DISPLAY, and select the session from the list.

Configure a File Transfer

Open the WinTronix File Transfer windows, and double click the File Transfer icon. Select NEW from the File menu then select Download - AS/400 to PC. A transfer request window opens. If you have ever created a TTO file using PC Support/400, the request will be familiar to you. Fill out the first window, click Advanced and fill out the second window. When the request is completed, select Save As from the File menu.

Starting Emulation and File Transfer

Starting emulation is a simple process. Make sure that the memory-resident programs are loaded at boot-up. To make things easier for the user, I create a new window titled AS400. In it, I copy the icons used to start and run emulation. All other icons are left in the WinTronix window, which I retitle to AS400 SysAdm. With Windows loaded and running, open the AS400 window. Start the NS/Router program and drag the session you want into the active area. When messages tell you that the router is started, click on the Session icon. Choose the session you want, then click on Start Session.

Auto-starting Emulation at Boot-up

by Bill Sacramone

Users who view their computers simply as a work tool may want to have emulation auto-start on boot-up. The auto-start procedure that you use can be varied in many ways. The one that seems to work for us is to copy the NS/Router icon into the start-up group by pressing and holding the Ctrl key while you drag the NS/Router icon to the start-up group. We changed the properties to:



Next we copied the AS/400 Display Session icon into the start-up group and changed its properties to:

DESCRIPTION: AS/400 Session start COMMAND: C:WT400WT400dsp.exe /N1 /DC:WT400 WORK DIR: C:WT400 Users still have to be trained for a manual start in case of GPFs or other types of normal system hangs, but the auto-start helps overcome the initial period of learning something new. Important: When Windows initiates and checks the start-up group, it launches programs in the group in a well-defined order. Windows reads icons in the start-up group from upper left to lower right. Be sure that the NS/Router icon is to the left of the AS/400 Display icon so it will run first.



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