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Parcels, Interchanges & Mailbags

CrystalKLD edited this page Apr 15, 2024 · 4 revisions

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ECGrid is a system to move electronic business documents from one organization to another in a reliable, efficient and trackable manner. So, when everything else it put aside: It's all about the data.

Using the physical world as a model, all these business documents are wrapped in envelopes. The lowest level that ECGrid penetrates is the Interchange. In X12 this is represented by the ISA envelope and in EDIFACT it is the UNB envelope.

It is our philosophy and policy that nothing within this envelope is within our domain. This area is left to the VANs and ECSPs. This clearly delineates ECGrid from the networks that connect to it. It also allows us to clearly concentrate on our mission.


This is the level of enveloping where Sender and Receivers are defined. All data is routed on ECGrid and through all Interconnects at at the Interchange Envelope level.

ECGrid natively routes X12 and EDIFACT envelopes and can route any data types within an X12 ISA envelope.


Mailbags are a convention for moving Interchanges between networks. In order to get a handle on Interchanges over Interconnects, many VANs use the X12.56 Mailbag Protocol.

X12.56 allows for VANs to track Mailbags over Interconnects. While Mailbags may contain multiple Interchanges, ECGrid only sends one Interchange per Mailbag as the protocol requires that an entire Mailbag be rejected if even a single Interchange is corrupt.


Whether wrapped in an X12.56 Mailbag or by itself, all files and uploaded to and downloaded from ECGrid are considered Parcels.

Within EDI itself, data is considered a stream and is not tied to the concept of a file. For this reason, ECGrid uses the term Parcel to describe EDI data turned into a file-based format.


All Parcels, Mailbags & Interchanges are kept on-line. To recover data from Archive, please use the appropriate API call.

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