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Consultant's Corner: Client configuration for Exchange

When you're setting up client access to Exchange, you have three options. You can use Outlook or Outlook Express to retrieve your e-mail using POP3, IMAP, or a Web browser--each of which has advantages and disadvantages.

When you’re setting up client access to Exchange, you have three options. You can use Outlook or Outlook Express to retrieve your e-mail using:
  • ·        POP3 (Post Office Protocol v3)
  • ·        IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
  • ·        A regular Web browser pointed to the company Web server on which Exchange is installed (or to the Exchange server with IIS installed)

Each type of configuration has advantages and disadvantages.

POP3 has been around for a long time and is known for being quick and simple to use. You also have the option of letting employees use just about any program they want to retrieve their e-mail remotely. The disadvantage with doing so is that unless users set the option to leave messages on the server, their e-mail client won’t be in synch with the computer on their desk without extra work (either on their part or yours).

IMAP helps keep your remote and local desktops in sync by downloading only the message headers to the remote unless users specifically download the messages themselves. The disadvantage of IMAP is that it can be a little slow over a dial-up link, due to the extra work it’s doing in the background to keep everything in sync. To operate offline with IMAP (without a live connection to your Exchange server), users will have to download all messages to be viewed.

If your company doesn’t want to deal with supporting remote client problems, your users can use a standard Web browser. If they do, they will be able to reach their mailboxes from just about any computer.

Ronald Nutteris a senior systems engineer in Lexington, Kentucky. He’s an MCSE, Novell Master CNE, and Compaq ASE. Ron has worked with networks ranging in size from single servers to multiserver/multi-OS setups, including NetWare, Windows NT, AS/400, 3090, and UNIX. He’s also the Help Desk Editor for Network World. You can reach Ron at rnutter@networkref.com. (Because of the large volume of e-mail that he receives, it’s impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)

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