CISCO ROUTER OS UPGRADE - - HOW TO TEST EDI COMMUNICATIONS AFTERWARDS

My company has a tunnel connecting it with its' suppliers. EDI transactions go back and forth over the tunnel. For some suppliers there is an intermediate "traffic management/firewall/ecryption" company, which I will call INcompany. Other suppliers communicate directly with us through the tunnel. The tunnel is private. It uses a protocol called ANX which was developed by the large automotive companies. We lease the use of this tunnel from a company I''ll call ELcompany. We also use the tunnel for internet.

INcompany is moving to a new datacenter and upgrading it's security. We are therefore required to establish a new tunnel with them, replacing the existing one. ELcompany advises us that to move to the upgraded communications we have to upgrade the OS on our Cisco Router.  We are going to do the OS upgrade first. We will establish the new tunnel later,.

(I'm finally getting to the question, hold on... I'm an application developer with no experience in these things.)

This tunnel is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

To what extent do I need to test communications after the OS upgrade? In other words, can I assume that if communication is made by some simple method (??? ping, command line ftp??) that the content and format of my EDI DATA communications will be unaffected? Can a router OS do things to the data like add control characters, line breaks, or other things I have not thought of?

I'm not worried about the internet communications part. Should I be?
pickwick-systemsAsked:
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nodiscoCommented:
hi
Considering you are leasing the use of this tunnel and the company ELcompany are making changes on their end - its ultimately their responsibility that they are to advise exactly which IOS version you are to upgrade to - and that it works ok.  
An IOS persay is not going to add control characters by design to data - a flawed IOS may cause issues that a later release will fix though.  I would in short ask the provider why your current IOS is not sufficient, exactly what IOS version you are to upgrade to and confirm with them that this will not affect the tunnel working correctly.
Things to also remember are that you need to have enough flash space and memory on your router to accomodate the new recommended image
also
You need to have a cisco.com username (or a smartnet support contract) to be able to download the image from Cisco.  
Ios also have a release notes page on them where they will show which caveats they fix from an earlier release - you can compare this to the detail given to you as to why the upgrade is necessary.

Internet communications should work fine (as should the tunnel) but I would definetly be making sure that the provider have good reason for you to make this change and will fully support and troubleshoot any issues on your behalf.

cheers
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shalomcCTOCommented:
as far as I know, ANX is just another protocol using TCP/IP, just like Telnet or FTP.
therefore, your EDI transmissions should not be affected by changes in the communications infrastructure.

however, all changes carry a certain amount of risk.  routers and firewall will be reconfigured, access control lists will be redefined, and cables will be rewired.
I suggest that due to the importance of the business process supported by EDI, you test extensively after the changes are made.


ShalomC
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pickwick-systemsAuthor Commented:
I apologize,  I forgot to award points and close the thread. I agree on your points split. thank you.
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VenabiliCommented:
If you agree, you can make the split yourself:)
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