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APPN (Advanced Peer to Peer Network) - an explanation

IBM network architecture for building dynamic routing across arbitrary network topologies. Intended as an eventual replacement for SNA, IBM's static routed, hierarchical network architecture.Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking (APPN), part of IBM's Systems Network Architecture (SNA), is a group of protocols for setting up or configuring program-to-program communication within an IBM SNA network. Using APPN, a group of computers can be automatically configured by one of the computers acting as a network controller so that peer programs in various computers will be able to communicate with other using specified network routing.

APPN works with Advanced Program-to-Program Communication (APPC) software that defines how programs will communicate with each other through two interfaces: one that responds to requests from application programs that want to communicate and one that exchanges information with communications hardware. When one program wants to communicate with another, it sends out a request (called an allocate call) that includes the destination's logical unit (LU) name - the APPC program on each computer that uniquely identifies it). APPC sets up a session between the originating and destination LUs.

APPN network nodes are differentiated as low entry networking (LEN) nodes, end nodes (ENs), and network nodes (NNs). When the network computers are powered on and the software activated, links are established throughout the specified topology. The linked nodes exchange information automatically.