Nobody can deny that throughout time, tools such as the typewriter, the telephone, and the fax machine have been part of the essential building blocks of any business. Today, email has joined the privileged list of essential tools that you could not even conceive working without. About a year ago, while reading the article Get to the Point with PPP (MC, January 2000), I came up with one of those brilliant (and very time-consuming) ideas: to see if I could give all the users in our company access to Internet email from our AS/400 with the local dial-up Internet account I use at home for $28 a month. The incentive of this scenario was that for the same $28, I could provide Internet email from our AS/400 to an unlimited number of users connected to our AS/400.
Have I Gotten Your Attention Yet?
Setting up this scenario is not difficult. As with all projects, the trick is knowing which buttons to push and in what order to push them. I will tell you that I invested many days and hours trying to pick bits and pieces from different manuals and sources and went through a lot of trial-and-error testing to make all this work. Know-how is the name of the game. In this article, Ill step you through everything you need to know to configure and start using email on the AS/400, using a PC client. Figure 1 shows a global picture of how this scenario is going to work.
Before you get started configuring your AS/400, youll need to do some prep work. For the purposes of this article, I used an AS/400 running V4R3. Ive also tried this technique on V4R2 boxes, and it works OK there too. The first thing youll need to do is ensure that your PTF level is current, especially if you are working on a V4R3 box. Strangely enough, the V4R2 box worked fine without the PTFs, but the V4R3 box required them. In any event, for V4R3, you will need to apply PTF SF60228.
Im also going to assume that you have an Ethernet or Token-Ring network connected to your AS/400, and that you are using TCP to communicate with your network- attached PCs. One bright noteyou dont need to install Client Access/400 in order to
make use of the email services provided by the AS/400. Instead, you can get by with the basic OS/400 TCP/IP services and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). You should also have a modem, such as a Motorola BitSurfer, and a communication line configured to work as a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) line. For more information on how to set up and configure a PPP line on your AS/400, check out Get to the Point with PPP (MC, January
Configuring the AS/400
First, do a quick check of the TCP/IP configuration on your AS/400 using the Configure TCP/IP (CFGTCP) menu. Select option 10, Work with TCP/IP Host Table Entries, and modify your existing host IP address configuration to add your domain name to the table. In this example, your domain name will be mycompany.com. You may also have this setup as systemname.mycompany.com. It just depends on how you defined the entries in your Host Table.
Next, select option 12 to change your domain name. In the Domain Name field, type mycompany.com. Use *LOCAL for the primary directory search to let the AS/400 look for your local users first. If the email address is not in this directory, it will search for the Domain Name System (DNS) IP addresses that were provided by your ISP. You will ask for a primary and secondary IP address for your ISPs DNS. Type these values, which your ISP should provide, in the last field. Figure 2 shows what your completed screen should look like.
Now, use option 20 to go to the Configure TCP Applications menu. Select option 12 to go to the Configure SMTP menu. In the Configure SMTP menu, select option 3, Change SMTP attributes. On this screen, enter *YES on the AUTOSTART parameter to automatically start the SMTP server, enter *YES on the Retry remote name server (RTYRMTSVR) parameter, and finally, enter *YES on the AUTOADD parameter to automatically add new users to the system registry when they send new email. The last thing youll need to do is page to the second screen on this display and type in the IP address of your ISPs primary DNS in the MAILROUTER parameter. In this example, the value is 184.108.40.206. Leave the default values in the rest of the fields. You may also want to restrict access to your SMTP server so that unauthorized persons cannot relay your email. To do this, youll need to apply one of the following PTFs:
V4R2 - SF52864
V4R3 - SF53421
V4R4 - SF54014
Now, from the Configure TCP/IP Applications menu, type option 16 to go to the Configure POP Attributes menu. Specify *YES on the AUTOSTART parameter to automatically start the POP server. Specify *YES on the ALWSTDCNN parameter to allow a standard POP connection, and specify *IP in the HSTSVRCNN parameter if your network uses TCP/IP as the standard protocol. If you are not sure, you can use *ALL, but you may experience a slight performance penalty if TCP/IP is not the standard protocol. For the Use address book (ADRBOOK) parameter, enter *YES, and then use a 60-minute interval for updates. Some IBM manuals indicate that you should use *NO in this field, but Ive found that doing so will not allow the SMTP server to work. You must specify *YES.
Add a New SMTP User Profile
You will now register a user for testing. I created a user profile for myself, which I named DSMITH, and then proceeded to enroll this user in the AS/400 directory. Once you do these steps, type the Work with Directory Entries (WRKDIRE) command and select option 1 to add a new user.
Enter the user ID DSMITH (or whatever user ID you create) and the APPN name of your AS/400. You can use the Display Network Attributes (DSPNETA) command to find out what the APPN (System) name of your AS/400 is. Press the Enter key. To get to the panel shown in Figure 3, enter a descriptive name for this user and then page forward three times. Enter a 2 in the Mail Service Level to tell OS/400 to store messages. This will enable POP to create a mailbox for each user and store mail. Enter a 3 in the Preferred Address field to indicate that you will use SMTP standards.
As an alternative to the WRKDIRE command described above, you could also enter the following command from an AS/400 command line:
ADDDIRE USRID(DOUGSMITH SYSTEMNAME) +
USRD(Text stuff) +
USRDFNFLD((SMTPAUSRID SMTP DSMITH) +
(SMTPDMN SMTP MYCOMPANY.COM)) +
And then youll need to create another context entry so that you can use Internet Addresses when using the Send Distributions (SNDDST) command:
ADDDIRE USRID(INTERNET USERS) +
USRD(Context switching entry) +
PREFADR(NETUSRID *IBM ATCONTXT)
Starting the Servers
Now you can start the Mail Server Framework and the SMTP and POP3 servers in the AS/400 by typing the following commands:
End Mail Server Framework (ENDMSF)
Start TCP/IP Server (STRTCPSVR SERVER(*SMTP))
Start TCP/IP Server (STRTCPSVR SERVER(*POP))
Start Mail Server Framework (STRMSF MSGOPT(*CLEAR))
Note: Use CLEAR to clear any previously unsent messages from the queue. If you dont want to erase those unsent messages, then use MSGOPT(*RESET) instead.
You should use the Operations Navigator or use the Configure Point-To-Point TCPIP (CFGTCPPTP) menu to start the PPP link to your ISP. Your modem should dial,
connect with the ISP, and an active status should appear on the link. If you use the Network Status (NETSTAT) menu, you will see the DNS IP address and route attached to your AS/400. You should be able to send and receive mail once youve finished the configuration.
Last, But Not Least
The last thing you will probably want to do is to contact your ISP and ask to have a permanent IP address assigned that you can use in your PPP configuration. This will make life easier for you since you wont have to worry about the IP address changing on you all the time. Of course your ISP may charge you extra for a permanent IP address, so keep that in mind.
Also, youll need to make sure that your ISP sets up a Mail Exchange (MX) record for you in their DNS table so that you can receive mail from the Internet. They should do this for you anyway, but it doesnt hurt to remind them. For those of you who are unfamiliar with how email works with DNS, an MX record is basically a one-line text entry in the DNS table that the DNS server will look at for incoming mail, so it knows where to route it to. Your ISP may set up multiple DNS records for you in a sort of daisy chain so that if your incoming mail cannot be delivered to you (because you havent logged on to retrieve it for example), it can be routed to a storage area on the ISPs server. If that happens, then the next time you log onto your ISPs mail server, your email will be automatically routed to you, based on the MX daisy chain of addresses. Youll probably have to work pretty closely with your ISP to ensure that they create your companys email account so that it behaves in the manner you require.
When you begin using your AS/400 to send and receive email, a number of scenarios may happen, depending on the technology and type of servers your ISP is using. In one scenario, your presence will be detected and all mail pertaining to your domain
(e.g., mycompany.com) will be forwarded to your AS/400 immediately (following the route defined in the MX record in the ISPs DNS). In another scenario, the ISP server will cycle (i.e., start the process to send out email to its clients) every x amount of minutes and validates that your AS/400 is online; if so, the server will forward your mail. In this case, your AS/400 might be logged on for five minutes or more until the ISP executes a cycle and realizes you are online. If you wish to force the ISP server to deliver mail to your domain while you are connected to your ISP, in a command line type telnet 220.127.116.11 port(25). This will bring you into the ISP server console. Then type etrn @mycompany.com and you will see a message like queing of @mycompany.com started. Finally type quit to end the telnet session. You have now forced your mail to be delivered to your AS/400 (iSeries).
On the other hand, mail sent to addresses outside of your AS/400 will be stored temporarily in your AS/400 until you link up to the ISP. At that moment, the AS/400 will deliver the mail and the ISPs DNS will validate addresses and return any invalid ones. For information on how to configure a PC email client to work with your AS/400 email, check out the sidebar, Configuring MS Outlook for AS/400 Email.
REFERENCES AND RELATED MATERIALS
AS/400 Electronic-Mail Capabilities. Redbook (SG24-4703-00)
Get to the Point with PPP, Shannon ODonnell, MC, January 2000
OS/400 TCP/IP Configuration and Reference V4R1 (QB3ANL00)
The AS/400, the Internet, and EMail. Brian W. Kelly. Carlsbad, California: MC Publishing Co.
Configuring MS Outlook for AS/400 Email
If you want to create a PC email client to work with AS/400 email in a more familiar environment, its pretty easy to do so. To accomplish this, use Microsoft Outlook Express to create a mail client on your PC. From your Windows 9x or Windows NT PC, open MS Outlook Express and then select Accounts from the Tools menu. (Note: Depending on which version of Outlook you have, this menu option may appear slightly different.) Select Add and then Mail. Please be careful and specify a return address also; Outlook leaves that field blank, and the AS/400 requires a return address or mail will not be sent. You will need to enter a user ID and an email address. Use the email address as you configured it in the SMTP server on the AS/400
On the Outlook Mail Server panel (this may be selected by either clicking on a Server tab or by clicking the Next button, depending on which version of Outlook you are using), type your AS/400 APPN name, which in this case is the name of your SMTP and POP servers. You could also use your AS/400 IP address. It is very important to note that the name of the account should be your valid user ID that was enrolled in the WRKDIRE command. Your password must match that of your AS/400, corresponding to the user ID you entered. All other Outlook panels will work with default values.
Hosts your domain
Permanent IP address
Directory for addresses or DNS
Figure 1: Heres a graphical overview of using AS/400 email with an ISP.
Domain name for Internet
Directory entry for users
Figure 2: Add your ISPs DNS IP addresses so OS/400 can find them.
Figure 3: Set your SMTP configuration to store email.