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AS400 Systems
Barcode Software and Hardware for Your AS400

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System ID has provided System 3x/4xx AS400 barcode solutions since the technology first made its debut long, long ago.

This might be old technology, but many companies still rely on it, and we're experts in integrating modern barcode technology with these systems.

Printing Barcodes from your AS400

There are numerous ways to print barcodes from your AS400, either with software or hardware. The best solution depends on your particular application.

Software packages such as TL Ashford's Barcode400 provide native iSeries labeling software that allows you to design barcode labels directly from your AS400. These packages are ideal for companies who have multiple users who need to design and print different barcode labels from their AS400 data.

AS400 print servers (hardware or software) allow your PC printer (barcode, laser or dot matrix) to connect to your AS400 via Twinax or Ethernet. These can give your users not only barcoding capabilities but also allow you to convert these printers to standard AS400 printers. There are specialized AS400 print servers that will natively support the barcode printer languages or ones that will support IPDS (Intelligent Printer Data Stream).

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Reading Barcodes to Your AS400

Attaching a barcode scanner to any PC or terminal connected to the AS400 will allow you to directly input barcoded information into your AS400. The scanner acts like a keyboard, reading anything scanned into the field where your cursor is. Most scanners come with either a PS2 or USB connection to your keyboard, but specialty cable connections are available that support older-style twinax terminals. You can also program preambles and postambles (keystrokes before or after each barcode read).

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Mobile Computing with Your AS400

Portable data terminals allow workers to become mobile, moving their computing and data-collection needs to where the work is, instead of being toied to a desktop PC.

Batch portable data terminals are designed to scan data in to later be downloaded to your AS400 database. Wireless portable data terminals, on the other hand, will update your AS400 database as soon as the data is scanned in.

Some things to consider when you are making the decision to use either batch or wireless units are:

  • Do you need instant access to the data collected?
    • For instant access, a wireless solution is usually best
  • Do you have a server you want to connect to?
    • In a wireless solution the handheld is just passing a screen or session from the server to the user. If you want the handheld do more (such as notify you if the barcode scanned is incorrect), a custom application in a batch configuration is probably the best fit
  • What is your budget?
    • For smaller budgets, a batch solution is usually the best alternative

There are multiple emulation software packages to use in conjunction with your portable data terminals to access, manage and maintain your connection to applications resident on your host AS400. All of these software packages can be customized for your specific needs. Call to discuss your application and let us help you determine which solution is right for you.

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AS400 Cabling

Most users on an AS400 today have a combination of AS400 and network applications. Traditionally, the System 34/36/38 and AS400 were cabled with the use of Twinax cable, while networks were cabled with unshielded twisted pair cable. Let us show you how to combine your AS400 and network cables and eliminate the use of Twinax in your office.

Twinax

Twinax cable is the cable that the AS400 and System 36 originally used to connect terminals and printers. The 5250 protocol originally specified the use of Twinax cable to communicate with peripherals.

Twinax cable connects each of the AS400 devices in a "daisy-chain" configuration. Each device is connected to the device before it like a chain. Up to 7 devices per controller port are connected in series.

For those still using Twinax cable, we carry Twinax cable and Twinax accessories in stock, including:

  • Twinax cable (bulk and pre-assembled)
  • Twinax male connectors
  • Replacement parts for Twinax male connectors
  • Twinax (female) barrel connectors
  • Twinax terminators
  • Twinax triple-T connectors
  • Twinax emulation pigtails
  • Twinax cable testers
  • Twinax stripping and crimping tools
  • Twinax switch boxes

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Twinax Cable Disadvantages

  • Twinax cable is bulky, difficult to install, and is only used for the AS400. New cable is needed when adding a network.
  • There can be up to 7 devices on the same chain. Any break or bad peripheral in the daisy chain brings down all other devices after the bad device.
  • Daisy chain is a rigid topology, making it hard to make changes or accommodate moves.

UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) Cabling

The alternative to installing Twinax cable is to use unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. Unshielded twisted pair is already being used by most customers in their LAN applications, it is readily available, inexpensive and easy to install.

Advantages of UTP:

  • UTP cabling offers migration to LAN without re-cabling, since the same cable is used for both LAN and AS400.
  • Changes in configuration are simple, making it easy to accommodate moves.
  • Overall wiring costs are reduced
    • UTP wiring is more economical than twinax
    • It is less expensive to re-configure as user locations change
    • It is less expensive to install

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Migrating to Twisted Pair

Star hubs and Twinax to RJ11/RJ45 baluns are used when migrating your current Twinax infrastructure to twisted pair. The maximum distance to each device will be much shorter than Twinax unless a star hub is used.

Devices should be connected in a star topology. Each device is on a dedicated cable, offering complete isolation from other devices.

A powered star hub (also known as a power panel) is recommended between the AS400 and the devices. This hub conditions the signal for optimum performance and reliability and greatly increases the distance to each device (2500 to 3000 feet, depending on the brand). Star hubs also provide individual LED port diagnostics to assist in problem isolation. Star hubs come with either one Twinax or RJ11/RJ45 input port to every seven RJ11/RJ45 port outputs.

For more information on migrating from Twinax to Ethernet, call one of our cabling professionals.

Thin Clients

A thin client is a computer (client) which has little or no application logic, it depends primarily on the central Terminal Server for processing activities. Thin clients are an excellent alternative to terminals and PCs. They provide an excellent migration path from green screen terminals to Windows and web-based environments.

Thin clients significantly reduce IT expenses, while providing the same level of productivity and flexibility as PCs. In general, they are more secure and less expensive than PCs.

Basic Terminals

In basic thin clients, all application processing occurs on the server. There is no local processing and limited peripheral options. These are ideal for task-based or transaction-based users, and are often used as green screen replacements.

  • Low cost VT 100, 220, 5250 or 3270 hosted session terminal replacements
  • Low functionality
  • Very secure (no local processing)
  • Simple design, no moving parts
  • Support LCD flat screens and locally attached printers
  • Support USB peripherals
  • Remote management

Browser Terminals

Browser terminals (also referred to as robust thin clients) give you all the functionality of the basic thin client and add a local Window-like shell and browser software. This gives your user access to web based and terminal services hosted applications. Browser terminals are ideal for task based or transaction based users who need access to the web or web applications.

LOB Terminals (Line of Business Terminals)

LOB terminals (also referred to as flexible terminals) give you all the functionality of browser terminals and also enable local execution of limited applications (Xpe). These terminals give you the most PC-like flexibility, including options such as multiple USB ports, CD-Rom drives, PCI slots and internal expansion slots. Because of the added options and the ability to run some local applications, LOBs are the least secure of the thin clients.

Thin Twinax Terminals

For Twinax users who know they will soon be migrating to to ethernet topology, a Twinax/ethernet hybrid terminal is the ideal solution. A thin Twinax terminal gives you Twinax capabilities, and migrates you to a thin client terminal as soon as you are ready to make the move.

Wireless Tablets

Using the latest in Wi-Fi technology, wireless tablets are portable Windows-based thin clients which provide access to web-enabled applications, Windows Terminal Services, Citrix Servers, IBM Midrange and Mainframe computers and UNIX/Linux hosts. Wireless tablets provide mobile connectivity ideal for many environments, including healthcare, manufacturing, distribution and warehousing.

Get Connected Today!

System ID offers a full line of internet clients suitable for your business environment. Call one of our thin client experts to discuss your application needs.



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