Isode is 15 years old

September 14th, 2017

Fifteen years ago, six of us started the current Isode company. We’ve had quite an adventure and this seems an appropriate time to step back and reflect.

I founded the original Isode organization 25 years ago and we focussed on the M-Vault Directory and M-Switch SMTP/X.400 products (which had different names then). Isode became a part of MessagingDirect which did e-Billing and was sold to ACI (as US Company). New Isode took on M-Vault and M-Switch in 2002, along with a number of customers still using these products. We were fortunate that many old Isode customers had continued to use M-Switch/M-Vault and were delighted to see Isode return.

I started drafting this message with a history of new products, customers, and markets. It became clear that this would end up as a very long messages of limited interest. So I have picked out a few highlights of the 15 year road from a start-up without offices or cash to a financially stable company with many products, customers and markets.

The Isode achievements I am most proud of are where our software products get deployed to support mission critical deployments around the world. Some of my favourites are:

  • The AMHS (Aviation) market, where M-Switch is used in a majority of countries in the world to support ground to ground communication in support of civil and military flights.
  • The NATO M-Link deployment in Afghanistan, in support of the Resolute Support Mission.
  • Use of M-Vault directory to underpin most of our messaging and XMPP deployments, and as standalone services such as support of the US Government Federal PKI and our oldest UK customer.
  • M-Switch MIXER deployments, particularly in the UK, to support transition from X.400 to SMTP

We are foremost a technology company and I’m proud that we are able to lead in new technology areas (notably XMPP and HF Radio) and to apply modern innovative engineering to our products supporting older technologies (notably the world of ACP 127, Serial Lines, and messaging without lower case letters that we have recently embarked upon). Open Standards are central to the Isode Philosophy and I’m delight that Isode staff (including me) have been able to contribute to new standards in IETF, XSF and NATO. We plan to continue this and to have products supporting new open standards to help effective deployment.

A board member of the original Isode told me that start-ups initially see technology as the priority and as they evolve the priority shifts to people; he was spot on. I am immensely proud of the Isode family of staff; there are about 40 of us now, with a few who have been with Isode for over 20 years. We are centred in Hampton, with individuals spread around the world (Canada, Netherlands, USA, Germany, Peru and Wales). This relatively small group of people have brought a wide range of high-end software products to market and are able to support them through a wide range of our channel partners.

15 years is not an end point, but where we are on the journey. We are seeing exciting growth opportunities, particularly in our military markets, and we plan to take advantage of this. Over 15 years we have shifted from “server only” to providing clients, servers and comprehensive management and provisioning for both Messaging and XMPP. Our initial client focus is
very much for our evolving military markets, but I am looking forward to applying the security and resilience characteristics that are central to these markets into broader areas in the next 15 years.


Steve Kille
CEO, Isode

Improving HF Communications Now and in the Future Whitepaper.

July 25th, 2017

NATO plans to move BRASS (Broadcast and Ship to Shore) HF services to the new BRE1TA (BRASS Enhancement One Technical Architecture) which was initially set out in 2008. There have been important technical developments since the BRE1TA vision was set out, in particular the work on Wideband HF (WBHF). There is also increased technical understanding and experience with some of the technologies associated with BRE1TA. This has led to a number of detailed technical discussions, such as those set out in the Isode White Paper [Architecture for IP Application Services over HF Radio: Point to Point, Multicast and Broadcast], which was written to support NATO BRE1TA planning.

A new whitepaper on the Isode website [From BRASS to BRE1TA: Improving HF Communications Now and in the Future] gives a higher level summary of what is going on, with the aim of providing an explanation to those interested in BLOS (Beyond Line of Sight) communication, but who do not have detailed understanding of HF technologies. The paper looks at BRASS capabilities and sets out what can be achieved beyond core BRASS with technologies that can be purchased today. This includes four of the five BRE1TA goals and a few capabilities beyond BRE1TA. Finally the paper considers capabilities that are anticipated, but are not yet ready to deploy. This includes the fifth BRE1TA goal of providing generic IP services over HF.

R16.6 Now Available

May 17th, 2017
The latest release of our complete product set, R16.6, is now available for customers and evaluators. In this blog post we look at some of the key changes, you can find a complete list on the Isode website.

New Product: Harrier Email Client

Harrier is a web-based secure email client with capabilities that make it ideal for use in support of military messaging deployments (including ACP127). Harrier includes support for security labels, time-related controls (reply by, expire on, deliver by) and Subject Indicator Codes (SICs).

Harrier can also operate as a general purpose client, providing a high performance, easy to use web interface to an IMAP/SMTP service.

New Messaging Server Capabilities

R16.6 sees a substantial extension of ACP127 support in M-Switch to provide a comprehensive ACP127 gateway and relay service. We’ve also added a range of capabilities in support of NATO BRASS (Broadcast And Ship to Shore) including support for BRE1TA (BRASS Enhancement One Technical Architecture).

New management capabilities include views in our MConsole management GUI to support management of ACP127 features, message history and operator alerts. A new web interface is provided for message correction, especially useful in military deployments where errors are handled by central operators and not returned to the sender.

M-Store X.400 has been enhanced to significantly improve performance and scaling, with message indexes now handled directly by M-Store (in previous versions this was held in M-Vault). M-Store R16.6 can store 100 million messages in a server, with mailboxes holding up to 100,000 messages.

Instant Messaging Enhancements

R16.6 sees a number of improvements to our M-Link XMPP server/gateway product including enhanced clustering to improve performance and simplify administration, control of messages based on maximum message body size and improved account provisioning for user information held in our M-Vault directory.

Download Today

R16.6 is available for download now from the Customer and Evaluator sections of the Isode website, both of which require you to enter your Isode login and password. If you have misplaced your login details (or wish to obtain a login in order to evaluate this release) please contact your Account Manager or reply to this email.

Documentation for this release is available from documentation page, which does not require a password.

STANAG 5066 Extension Protocol Series

January 17th, 2017

STANAG 5066 is a NATO Standard “PROFILE FOR HF RADIO DATA COMMUNICATIONS” providing a link level service for HF Radio. The latest version is Edition 3 of December 2010.

There are a number of issues with the current STANAG 5066 specification, particularly in relation to its use with the new Wideband HF (WBHF) specifications. NATO is aware of the need to update STANAG 5066 and has expressed intention to do so.

The S5066-EP series is intended to address the open issues prior to STANAG 5066 official update. This series of documents provides a set of extensions that can be used in conjunction with STANAG 5066 edition 3. The intent is that vendors and those procuring systems can reference these specifications, prior to this capability being available to NATO.

It is anticipated that this functionality will be folded into a future update of STANAG 5066 and at that point the series can be obsoleted.

Isode is managing the S5066-EP series as a community service. The initial S5066-EP documents are written by Isode but we encourage other individuals, organizations and vendors to contribute documents to this series.

Exchange of Information on STANAG 5066 EPs

The STANAG 5066 are all published on the Isode website.

There is an open mailing list for discussion of current and new S5066-EPs: s5066-ep (at) To join this list or manage your subscription, please send a message to s5066-ep-request (at)

Document Requirements

S5066-EPs must be openly available specifications that NATO may incorporate into a future edition of STANAG 5066.  They must be free of IPR or Patent restrictions that would prevent this.

These specifications are intended for implementation and must provide sufficient clear information to be implemented in context of STANAG 5066 Ed3.

S5066-EPs must have a clear publication date, and (apart from this document) a referenceable version number. S5066-EPs must have a status value which is one of:

  • Experimental: A new proposal for consideration.
  • Implemented: A specification that has at least one implementation that has demonstrated viability of the proposal.
  • Interoperable: A specification with two independent implementations that have been shown to inter-operate.
  • Informational: A document that does not have interoperability considerations.

The First in the Series: STANAG 5066 Padding DPDU

This document introduces a new STANAG 5066 DPDU to pad transmissions, which enables enhanced performance with no overhead. You can read the full extension on the Isode website.

Upgrading from R15.1

December 5th, 2016

Isode provides full support for Major and Minor releases of Isode’s server products, management tools and APIs for five years from the date of release. As of the end of November 2016, R15.1 came off of full support.

Release Notes for fully supported releases (currently R15.2, R16.0, R16.2 and R16.3) provide instructions for upgrading from R15.1. If you would like Isode advice on your upgrade and you have a current Isode support contract, then please get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide assistance with this and answer any questions you may have relating to R15.1 and support.

You can contact us either by emailing the support department or by using the Isode Self-Service Portal.

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