On the Road with Exchange

Be Online Even When You're Offline

Increasingly, corporations are requiring that their employees have mobile-computing capabilities. One enabling technology to come from this requirement is email. Everyone needs it. Employees need to stay in touch whether they work in a branch office, at a remote site, at home, or on the road. Microsoft Exchange Client is designed from the ground up to work equally well whether you're connected via the corporate LAN, dial-up phone lines, or not at all.

Exchange Client takes advantage of the basic client/server architecture that Exchange Server provides. Because an intelligent server is handling most of the work behind the scenes, data transmission is reduced to small requests and responses. This reduction greatly improves response time for remote users, which is a boon for anyone who has to connect via dial-up phone lines.

How It Works
If you're using Exchange as your enterprise email system, you can view your email messages, which are in a central store on Exchange Server, from any location. All you need is access to the Exchange Client software. But what if you want to answer some email while you're on a plane and you can't connect to the network by any means? Exchange supports a Personal Information Store. This is a local file on your computer that you can use to download email or store documents for use while you're offline. Now, you can read mail and compose replies without being connected to your server. Your email is automatically synchronized the next time you connect to your server, as screen 1 shows.

Offline Folders
The best way to work remotely is by using offline folders. An offline folder is a snapshot of your standard, personal Exchange folder, which is available when you are connected directly to Exchange Server.

You can add, delete, and edit the contents of an offline folder as you do with a regular folder. To update the contents of an offline folder with the rest of the information on the server, you dial in to synchronize the folders, and then continue working offline. Now you can turn all that downtime on planes, trains, and automobiles into productive time, keeping in touch with the office.

Remote Mail
Sometimes, all you want is to check your mail, answer the critical messages, and leave the rest for later. Sometimes, you want to read the mail waiting for you when you get up in the morning, especially when you're on the road. Remote Mail lets you view a brief description of the new items in your Exchange Server in-box, as in screen 2.

The Retrieval Time field lets you select what you want to download over that 28.8Kbits per second (Kbps) link. You can mark messages for retrieval, copying, or deletion. The messages are then transferred to your offline in-box. Because you download only the items you want, this method can be faster than synchronizing your offline in-box. You can also use the Remote Mail function to send email you compose offline.

Connecting to the server is simple. Remote Mail uses the Remote Access Service (RAS) server as its transport mechanism. You can configure Remote Mail to call an existing RAS server and sign in with the appropriate user ID, password, and domain. If you have previously configured your computer to use RAS, you're halfway there. You can use an existing phone book entry for modem configuration, as screen 3 shows.

One click will retrieve and send any offline email you have. I use this function all the time and it works great. I don't have to take up megabytes of space on my local machine, but I can still access critical messages.

Scheduling Connections
If you receive a lot of email, it may make sense to schedule Exchange Client to retrieve messages at regular intervals to even the load. You may also want to take advantage of off-hour long-distance rates.

Whatever the case, Remote Mail can do it. You can set specific times for Remote Mail to call and exchange email with Exchange Server, specifying connections that will occur at a designated time once a day or at regular polling intervals, as you see in screen 4.

Take note: The At and Every options act independently. If you set the At box to "12:00 am" and set the Every box to "1:00," you will connect and retrieve mail every hour on the hour, including 12:00 am.

You can transfer, copy, or delete items that have been through Remote Mail, but you will have to download and mark headers before your next scheduled connection. In addition, you can transfer only those items that meet the conditions you set, as shown in screen 5. These conditions are set in the Filter and Advanced dialogs.

Sophisticated, Yet Easy
Other messaging systems provide mobile computing as an additional option and cost, but Exchange Client provides this functionality right out of the box. The old adage is true: You get what you pay for. With Exchange Client, you get the state of the art in messaging software and uncompromising functionality in a remote-computing message client.

Exchange Client is sophisticated software capable of complex operations, yet it's easy to install, configure, and use. In addition, it lets you use a single application whether you're on-site or on the road.

Contact Info
Microsoft * 206-882-8080
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