MS Exchange From Your Mobiles

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You can remotely access your MS Exchange account through various mobile devices such as a cellphone with WAP (and possibly GPRS/CDMA), a PocketPC 2002 or 2003 device or a Smartphone and, of course, a notebook.

There are different ways that a mobile device can connect to Exchange. For PocketPC or Smartphone devices, one of the ways is using ActiveSync. Exchange 2003 is configured for ActiveSync by default. However, you can set some options for this by following these steps.

Log in as administrator and go to the Exchange System Manager. Expand the Global Settings>Mobile Services and go to its properties. In the Exchange ActiveSync option, you can select from 'Enable user initiated synchronization' which allows users to use PocketPC to sync up the data, 'Enable up-to-date notifications', which allows Exchange to send notifications to devices that support such notifications (such as Smartphones and Windows Mobile devices), and 'Enable notifications to user specified SMTP addresses' in case you wish to send notifications to an e-mail address for devices that do not support direct notifications (such as a cellphone for which you could supply an e-mail to SMS gateway address here).

Direct Hit!
Applies to: Network administrators
USP: Access Exchange through mobile devices such as PocketPC and Smartphone

Once this is done, you need to set up the ActiveSync component on the client devices as well. To do this, open up the device's ActiveSync program. In PocketPC 2002 devices, go to Today>Start> ActiveSync>Tools>Options>Server. In this screen, select the options you wish to synchronize: Calendar, Contacts and Inbox. When you select any of these options, a popup box will ask you whether you wish to delete all the data on the device or keep it and synchronize. You can turn all of them on and go into the Settings to configure the time for which to synchronize the data. Also enter the name of the Exchange Server here. 

Finally, click the Advanced button and enter your username, password and domain. Click on Ok to save the settings and continue. Next time, the device syncs up, it will also contact the Exchange server and synchronize the items you have selected. You can also perform these steps in the ActiveSync Windows component (the one that resides in you Windows system tray) by opening the program and going to Options. Select Synchronize with a server option and follow the same steps as in the device to configure it.

Another way to connect to Exchange from your mobile device is through Outlook Mobile Access service. This service is similar to Outlook Web Access that allows users to connect with Web browsers to check their account. 

When you connect the mobile device to your Exchange server, it synchronizes the data

To configure this, open the Exchange System Manager and expand the Global Settings. Right click Mobile Services and click the Properties option. Go to the Mobile Services tab and in the Outlook Mobile Access settings, turn the Enable Outlook Mobile Access on. If you also wish to allow cellphones that support WAP protocols to connect, make sure that the ‘Enable unsupported devices' option is also turned on.

Once this is done, you can easily use any supported device to connect to the service. For this, open up the device's browser and browse to https://<Exchange Server FQDN>/oma. For instance, if you are using a PocketPC, make sure you're connected to the Internet and then open Start>Internet Explorer. Enter the URL as https:// myexchangeserver/oma (where my exchangeserver is the full Internet domain name of the Exchange server). You will be presented with a screen that lets you work with your Exchange account using this browser.

Note that this same URL works with cellphones and Smartphones as well. So you can easily connect to the service from either of them and get the appropriate rendering on your device, thanks to the adaptive rendering techniques of the site.
Using inexpensive and ubiquitous devices for connecting to an Exchange server account makes the installing and using of Exchange as your primary messaging and groupware solution even more attractive. Administrators do not have to do any extra effort to get this functionality up and running (except for teaching users how to access it using their mobiles). Users, too, can feel happy that they can interact with their Exchange account even when they do not have a notebook at their disposal.

Vinod Unny 
Enterprise InfoTech

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