What is ASN.1?

What is ASN.1

Communication protocols describe the sequence, the content and the encoding of messages exchanged between computers communicating with each other. ASN.1 is a language for describing the content and the encoding of such messages.

ASN.1 is a mature core technology that is widely used in infrastructures that require robust communication. ASN.1 is precise, with explicit instructions on exactly how any given type of information must be represented when transferred. ASN.1 is independent of the programming languages used to implement communications. Whether you prefer to work in C, C++, Java, or C#, you can still transfer information. One end of the transfer could be written in Java running on a server, while the other end is written in C running on an embedded system, and they will still be able to exchange information using ASN.1.

ASN.1 describes protocol message content & encoding

ASN.1 is also independent of any hardware or operating system you might choose to use. This allows the exchange of information whether one end is a cell phone and the other end is a super computer, or anything in between. ASN.1 is flexible, allowing simple easily understood descriptions, yet has the power, for those who need it, to enforce complex constraints in which the type of information in one component of a message could be determined by the value of another component in the message.

Platform & hardware independent

ASN.1 has sets of rules precisely specifying how messages must be "encoded" for communication between machines. Each set of "encoding rules" has specific characteristics, such as compactness or decoding speed, which make it best suited for particular environments.

Where is ASN.1 being used?

You can't live a day without using ASN.1. When you use your cellular phone, get cash from the ATM, collaborate through NetMeeting, manage your network, shop online, receive your FedEX package, send secure emails, place an 800- number call, watch movies or listen to music over the internet, you are using ASN.1. And each day, from 4G, Aerospace and Satellite communication, to Intelligent Transportation, Smart Grid, Healthcare and many other emerging arenas, ASN.1 continues to be chosen as the foundation technology.

ASN.1 Applications

ASN.1 is an essential ingredient for achieving the lightning-fast mobile broadband networks of the 21st century. Protocols such as 4G: LTE RRC, LTE S1/X2 and IEEE 802.16m WiMAX are defined using ASN.1.

ASN.1 is like the cement in a concrete road, a crucial component that is not obvious to the riders. It works so well and seamlessly with different platforms and programming languages, you don't even know it is there.

Go to the OSS ASN.1 Products area to find out more.

You may also check out our short ASN.1 technical overview with simple examples and explanations of the ASN.1 most common features, as well as experiment with ASN.1 at our ASN.1 Playground.

Interested in using ASN.1?

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