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Tip of the Day
Language: Microsoft Exchange
Expertise: Beginner
Jul 13, 2000

Remote Access Via the Internet

Question:
We are a small company of some 70 staff, 50 of which are located away from the office (clients site, home, etc.). I am about to migrate from Microsoft Mail to Exchange Server 5.5. I would like to have full service (as many as possible features) from Exchange Server 5.5 via the Internet.

Just what are the limitations? Am I correct in assuming that I am limited to POP3 and therefore collaboration and global address lists are off the menu? If this is the case, is it improved with Exchange 2000? (I have just ordered the RC1 kit.)

I have looked at lots of Web info on 5.5 but just can't seem to find the answers on using Exchange Server via the Internet, please could some advise me.

Answer:
Well, that's a pretty big question so let me summarize the answers thusly and hopefully it'll point you in the right direction...

  • You're not limited to POP3. IMAP clients are also supported and if you implement any kind of VPN (even Microsoft's own PPTP) you can use the native Outlook client to access Exchange directly.

    Additionally, Exchange 5.5 supports the Outlook Web Access client, which is basically a dynamic Web page that looks more or less like Outlook and gives you access to your e-mail and some other features of your mailbox. It's not really "full service," however.
  • Exchange 2000 will improve upon this dramatically. Outlook Web Access is significantly improved and does give you, essentially, full access as every item in the Exchange store is now URL-accessible. Of course, Exchange 2000 requires Windows 2000 Server (some flavor thereof) so that's a whole other set of issues. (Note that to utilize Outlook Web Access you'll need an Internet-accessible server running Internet Information Server.)
Summed up: If you're looking for a Web-based solution, then Outlook Web Access is your answer and you'll be happier with the Exchange 2000 implementation of that. If you're just looking for the ability to access mailboxes remotely, then you might be perfectly satisfied with a VPN/Outlook connection.
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