Evaluation – IBM i – 5250 Emulator for IBM i (AS400 iSeries) 

 July 24, 2020

By  NickLitten


What is a 5250 Emulator?

In a previous blog about 5250 Emulators:

The IBM i System (sometimes incorrectly called the iSeries or AS/400) uses something called 5250 to stream its data to a terminal, often called a green screen. You’ve seen these clunky old terminals in black and white sci-fi movies. We still use them… sort of… we use terminal emulators (software that emulates the functions of those old terminals) to type commands into a command-line interface using windows/linux/mac whatever.

Me. Yonks Ago.

tn5250j in action

Is this just TELNET?

5250 is a protocol that runs over TELNET. The 5250 display protocol, used by IBM i enhances vanilla telnet adding control codes, keys, and services used by our IBM i System. You can simply telnet onto any IBM i system, but things like functions will not work…

Simply Put – a 5250 Emulator is an application that acts like it’s a terminal on your IBM i System.

In years gone by, the KING OF THE HILL was IBM’s own CLIENT ACCESS – this notorious piece of software was buggy, laggy and often caused much swearing from software developers and users alike. This led to many competitors writing their own 5250 emulators, some premium and many free or opensource.

Before we get to evaluating 5250 Emulators – both premium and opensource – let’s talk about what Emulators are, and which 5250 Emulators we will look at:

What are the best Premium / Free 5250 Emulators?

My preferred emulator is the IBM i Access Client Solutions application. It’s free, written in Java (so it runs everywhere). Having said that, there are so many emulators in this space I’m going to spend a few minutes evaluating each one. I will record and upload the video reviews as I download, install and test each and every 5250 Emulator I recommend… and even those I don’t šŸ˜‰

If you have one that you like, please leave let me know and I will try it out.

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IBM i Access Client Solutions -- IBMiAccess_v1r1.8.4

Free Java Telnet 5250 --Ā tn5250j-0.7.6-full-bin

Free Java Telnet 5250 --Ā xtn5250

Free Windows Telnet 5250 -- tn5250-0.17.4-setup

Mochasoft Telnet 5250 -- tn5250-Mochasoft-2019-V3.5


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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