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SMTP Email blocked but VPN works (China)

Posted on 2006-03-28
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Now here are three variables which are my final obstacle to getting Exchange Email to all users in all locations.

1. Smtp ports are blocked by some ISP in US and in China
2. VPN can connect shared drives but not to Exchange because the ports are blocked on the ISP Router
3. China is very regulated and hate Americans asking questions about what is blocked or not blocked. The ISP's are government run businesses in China is what i being told by users living there six months out of the year.


So how do I get users to connect to Exchange 2003 Server running on Ent. Server 2003 and we have the RAS server for VPN. Any suggestions.

I can test the solution here on myself with using Comcast connection which blocks smtp server relay
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Question by:llib21
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by:giltjr
ID: 16312953
If the VPN can connect to shared drives you should be able to connect to Exchange over the VPN.  Unless your ISP is providing the VPN connection, they should not be able to see what you are doing over the VPN as this is encrypted and they would need to decrypte the traffic to see what you are doing.
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Expert Comment

by:sgtpredator
ID: 16312975
Have you tried OWA (Outlook Web Access)?  The users won't have an actual desktop application, but they will have full access to their Exchange Mailbox.  OWA comes with Exchange 2003 and is very easy to install.  Once up and running the users in China could access their email using any web browser.  

If you do not want to use OWA you could configure the POP3 access on your exchange server and have the users in China download their email to an email client the same way they would a hotmail or yahoo account.  You could then setup a local smtp server in the Chinese office strictly for outgoing emails.  Any XP professional machine can be configured to send email via smtp.  
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Author Comment

by:llib21
ID: 16315776
SGTPREDATOR:
Yes, OWA does work there but we need to take it to the next level. I need have shared calendar's available to users traveling to China. I solved part of the problem. I was able to use the Citrix port for smtp to get the emails out under POP setup but Exchange server with vpn setup still does not work. Keep getting work offline popup. Exchange did resolve the username when I tried to establish a connection after vpn was connected.

GILTJR:
 Even with vpn, I  cannot establish a connection to my Exchange Server as the ports are blocked on the ISP's router.
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Expert Comment

by:carl_legere
ID: 16315947
What kind of VPN technology, Cisco DES on both sides of china US VPN work great.  Don't try to get to secure with the VPN, look for more security from windows and file encryption within the VPN
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Expert Comment

by:carl_legere
ID: 16315953
something is wrong with your VPN if you can do windows file sharing but not connect to VPN
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carl_legere earned 1200 total points
ID: 16315955
OOPS-

something is wrong with your VPN if you can do windows file sharing but not connect to exchange
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Author Comment

by:llib21
ID: 16315991
I am using XP VPN client without IPSEC.
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by:carl_legere
ID: 16316880
ok I suspect the way to move this foward is with a more serious hardware based VPN
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Author Comment

by:llib21
ID: 16316974
Carl was right on this one. I remember many people telling me the same thing. However, in the past I tried to create a new profile on my desktop which failed. Today, I setup my laptop in the office and brought it home, hooked up to vpn then tried email. Viola! I was wrong. It does work. I am waiting on the user to get to China (leaving tomorrow) for me to try it out with him. Also, I had added Citrix port 1494 (TCP) as a second port for the default smtp server which might have helped, not really sure. I know it did for POP users because they can "send out" emails now.
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