|EDI VAN (Electronic Data Interchange Value Added Network)||The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Value Added Networks (VANs) are similar to the post office for mailing letters. However, instead of mailing letters, the EDI VANs deliver transactions from one organization to another in electronic format. The formats could be in EDI, EDIFACT, UCS, TRADACOMMS (etc). The EDI VAN will read the "evelope" of this transaction's "interchange" and if an agreed upon partnership exists, then the VAN will send transaction to the receiver.
There are many EDI VANs, and there are many origanizations that use different VANs. So in essence, the VANs need to trade data among themselves to send the transaction to the proper party. This is called an interconnect. An interconnect is always accompied by a "mailbag id". This mailbag id is used when a transaction is missing so senders or recipients can track the progress of the interchange.
EDI VANs have been around a long time and although other technologies like AS2 have come around, companies still use the VAN despite the cost of doing business.