I have a simple client that will connect to a remote IP / PORT specified in a data area. It runs from a green screen.
I use it to pass formatted and raw data to our ip transaction processes. I developed it for testing. It does not do SSL. Basically it connects and then waits for user input. If I have time I will clean it up a little and post the source code on our FTP server and send a link to the group. If you want to use telnet, open two session. On one session run a NETSTAT *CNN. You can then use F15 to subset the list. Put in the remote systems IP address.
Now from your other session, run your telnet. The second you hit enter, refresh the first session. Do you see the connection attempt? Did it actually get connected? Was the status SYNC SENT? That would indicate you did not get connected.