Posted on 2006-04-18
I have a specific need and I'm told that a VPN may be the answer. Since I have never used or in any way been involved with VPN's, I have no idea if this would work.
My question is whether a VPN would allow the user to work on his Outook email account with no internet connection and sometime later (when internet connection is available) connect and send email?
Here's the detail if you care to read on...
Running Exchange 2003 on a Windows 2003 Server. I have a user that travels often with his laptop and needs access to him email on the road. We would normally set up a laptop with a POP3 account so the user can send and receive mail when outside the office. However, this particular laptop is setup with a regular Exchange account (cached mode). This is because this user needs to sync Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, etc. with Exchange server. The problem is that the laptop cannot send or receive mail unless it's actually connected to the Exchange server (i.e.has to be physically in the office). In the past, we've worked around this problem by having the user access email from either Outlook on the Web or thru a Remote Desktop connection. Unfortunately, this means there must be an active internet connection available otherwise he cannot work at all. The goal is for him to be able to compose email offline, when no internet connection is available, and then later be able to connect and send the emails in the Outbox. Currently, he cannot do this from the laptop because even though he can compose the mail, he cannot send it. Actually, as another workaround, we've recently added a POP3 account to his Outlook and this allows him to compose email from this account and then later send when he connects - however, dealing with 2 different accounts is cumbersome and far from ideal. I realize that setting up his account as a POP3 would elimiate the problem, but again, this is not an option because all the data would be only on the laptop and not synched with the Exchange server unless done manually.
NOTE: I am aware of a way for Outlook to connect an Exchange account thru the Internet ( RPC Over HTTP). I am exploring that option as well but need to cover all the bases ;-)