The elements of PEPPOL

An overview of the different elements of the PEPPOL infrastructure.


The e-delivery specifications provide support for the reliable and secure exchange of information between the senders and receivers of business messages in the PEPPOL network.

START – Secure Trusted Asynchronous Reliable Transport
(to be phased out in 2014)


START is based on the WS* stack of standards and can be compared with SFTI’s Transport Profile: Bas, with the difference being that START has the additional feature of using electronic certificates to digitally sign messages and receipts. START will be phased out as the PEPPOL network’s transport mechanism from 2014.

AS2 and SBDH

(New solution for e-delivery from autumn 2014.)
AS2 (Applicability Statement 2) is an e-delivery specification that allows reliable and secure data transport over the internet. The security aspects are taken care of by digital certificates and encryption. SBDH (Standard Business Document Header) is a UN/CEFACT standard for enveloping  information in messages. SBDH is used with AS2 to further guarantee reliable and easy information exchange in the PEPPOL network.

Service Metadata Publishing

Service Metadata Publishing is a function in the PEPPOL ecosystem that allows Service Metadata Publishers (SMPs) to publish information about users, including the means by which searches and information retrieval should be carried out for a particular entity. Service Metadata Publishing is based on the REST protocol. REST is described as an architectural design principle based on the following key attributes:

  • The explicit use of HTTP methods. 
  • Statelessness. 
  • The exposure of directory structure-like URLs. 
  • Transfer XML, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), or both.

The information published by the SMP about a recipient includes:

  • The message format that is supported (e.g. UBL or XML standard)
  • The variation of the standard supported (e.g. the specializations developed CEN / BII)
  • The technical address used to receive the message
  • The process / profile supported (corresponding to a “scenario” in SFTI)
  • The transport profile supported (typically START)

Based on the above information, an Access Point uses the information published by the SMP to ensure that the right kind of message is sent to the recipient and that the correct transport protocol and addresses are being utilised.

SML – Service Metadata Locator

The Service Metadata Locator (SML) is the function that is used to record and update the DNS. There is only one SML in the PEPPOL infrastructure and it is hosted centrally. When a new receiver is registered with an SMP, the DNS is updated simultaneously via a call to the SML.

LIME – Lightweight Message Exchange Profile

This specification describes how an organization communicates with its service provider. LIME thus provides organizations with a standardized way to pick up and drop off electronic documents at the Access Point.

CEN/BII – standards for electronic documents

CEN/BII is a standardization initiative of CEN (European Committee for Standardization). CEN/BII develops specifications for e-commerce processes. In addition to developing process descriptions, definitions of electronic messages such as orders, invoices, product catalogues etc. are also being defined. The definitions of electronic messages are the tied to existing XML standards from standards organizations such as UN/CEFACT (CEFACT XML) and OASIS (UBL). The PEPPOL infrastructure uses the processes and electronic messages developed by CEN/BII.

Many specifications used by PEPPOL are also used by SFTI. For example, SFTI Sveorder (defines electronic orders) shares the same order process definitions as PEPPOL.


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