An Application Context explicitly defines the set of application service elements, related options and any other information necessary for the inter working of Application Entities on an Association; in particular, it specifies the DIMSE Protocol used by the Application Layer.
Two Application Entities establish an Association by agreeing on an Application Context. The requester of an Association proposes an Application Context Name and the acceptor returns either the same or a different Application Context Name. The returned name specifies the Application Context to be used for this Association. The offer of an alternate Application Context by the acceptor provides a mechanism for limited negotiation. If the requester cannot operate in the acceptor's Application Context, it shall issue an A-Abort request primitive. Such a negotiation will facilitate the introduction of new versions of the DICOM Message Exchange Protocol in the future.
The Application Context Name structure is based on the OSI Object Identification (numeric form) as defined by ISO 8824. Specific rules are defined in PS 3.5. Application Context Names are registered values as defined by ISO 9834-1 to ensure global uniqueness. Application Context Names shall be encoded as defined in PS 3.8.
The organization responsible for the definition and registration of DICOM Application Context Names is ACR-NEMA. ACR-NEMA guarantees uniqueness for all DICOM Application Context Names. A choice of DICOM registered Application Context Names related to a specific version of DIMSE, as well as the associated negotiation rules, are defined in this annex.
A single DICOM Application Context Name is defined for this version of this Standard. This name is "1.2.840.10008.3.1.1.1"
Privately defined Application Context Names may also be used, but they will not be registered by ACR-NEMA. Organizations which define private Application Context Names are responsible to obtain their proper registration as defined for OSI Object Identifiers. National Standards Organizations representing a number of countries (e.g. UK, France, Germany, Japan, USA, etc.) to the International Standards Organization act as a registration authority as defined by ISO 9834-1.
Note: For example, in the USA, ANSI assigns Organization Identifiers to any requesting organization. This identifier is made of a series of four numeric elements; 1 (identifies ISO), 2 (identifies the ISO member bodies branch), 840 (identifies ANSI as the ISO member body representing the USA), and xxxxxx (identifies a specific organization and is issued by ANSI). Such an identifier may be used by the identified organization as a root to which it may add a suffix made of one or more numeric elements. The identified organization accepts the responsibility to properly register these suffixes to ensure uniqueness.
Privately defined Application Context Names shall be encoded as defined in PS 3.8. The Organization identifier "1.2.840.10008" is reserved for DICOM and shall not be used for privately defined Application Context Names.
The establishment of an Association involves two DICOM AEs, one that is the Association-requester and one that is the Association-acceptor.
A DICOM AE shall initiate an Association establishment by using the A-ASSOCIATE request service defined in PS 3.8. It shall provide the Application Association Information as defined by Annex D.
Operations and notifications are only used on an Association. They result in Messages exchanged by using the P-DATA request service defined in PS 3.8.
All operations and notifications invoked over an Association shall be confirmed. The performing DICOM AE shall report the response of each operation or notification over the same Association by means of which the operation or notification was invoked. No recovery shall be performed using multiple Associations.
Operations and notifications, on an Association, shall use one of the following two modes:
⎯ synchronous, where the invoking DICOM AE, on a established Association, requires a response from the performing DICOM AE before invoking another operation or notification
⎯ asynchronous, where the invoking DICOM AE, on a established Association, may continue to invoke further operations or notifications to the performing DICOM AE without awaiting a response
Note: The synchronous/asynchronous mode is defined within the scope of one Application Entity and not within the scope of the association between two Application Entities. The communication mode on the association may be bi-directional if agreed upon during association negotiation (i.e. both operation and notifications are simultaneously supported, etc.). Following is an example of synchronous mode, DICOM AE A may send an operation request to DICOM AE B and DICOM AE B may send a notification request to DICOM AE A before responding to the operation request from AE A. This is considered as synchronous mode because each AE has only one outstanding operation or notification.
The mode selected (synchronous or asynchronous) is determined at Association establishment time. The synchronous mode serves as the default mode and shall be supported by all DICOM AEs. The asynchronous mode is optional and the maximum number of outstanding operations or notifications is negotiated during Association establishment. This negotiation is accomplished by the Asynchronous Operations Window sub-item structure as defined in Annex D.
Only the DICOM AE Association-requester may initiate an orderly release of the Association. This shall be accomplished by using the A-RELEASE service defined in PS 3.8.
The DICOM AE Association-requester shall not release the Association until all operations invoked have been confirmed.
Either DICOM AE may initiate an abrupt termination of an Association. This shall be accomplished by using the A-ABORT service defined in PS 3.8.
Upon receiving or issuing the A-ABORT service primitive, the DICOM AE Association-requester and DICOM AE Association-acceptor shall fail any operation which is outstanding.
Note: The Association services and presentation services defined in the Upper Layer Service in PS 3.8 are a fully conformant subset of the services offered by the ACSE and the OSI Presentation Layer.