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Monitoring incoming Connections to SBS Server 2003

Posted on 2006-11-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
We have a number of clothing stores which use POP email provided by our server (exchange 2003).  The are all on an adsl connection along with our server.  They also use our server as the smtp server to send mail through.  Some stores are connecting to the mail server and sending no problem, or i should say most are working fine.  One store when trying to send and recieve (ie send an email in outlook express) cannot contact the server and fails to send the message.

What i need to know is a way to monitor if our server is actually getting the request to send the email or not.  In outook express when the email is attempted to be sent, it just continues to say contacting smtp.myserver.com and then times out saying your server could not be contacted.  

I have a thought that it is our isp as they port 25 filter all connections.  We have apparently opted out of this and theoretically it should work.  Ive tried the connection from another isp to the server and its fine.   Taking this into account, all the other stores that work are on the same isp as the server and some work and some dont.  

MYSTERY!!!
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Question by:msha094
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17909540
Hi msha094,

Not a direct answer, but a better solution;

Why don't you get these remote stores to use RPC/HTTP instead?

You are already licensed for Outlook 2003, so you have everything you need to do it.  The benefits of doing so will mean that all traffic is encrypted, and goes via port 443 (which is almost never blocked), plus, you will be able to start backing up mail from the remote sites.

About it -> http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/ex2k3rpc.mspx
Doing it -> http://www.amset.info/exchange/rpc-http.asp

-red
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by:msha094
ID: 17909597
These sites are all over the country and accessing them is difficult.  They are point of sale machines so outlook express is already installed on them.  I realise this is the best way but not feasible as client wont send us round to do this..
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17909676
Configuring this is something that I have walked users through over the phone (it is as simple as setting up a new outlook profile)

But, assuming you do not want to do that, there are POP3 and SMTP logs,

C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles\

Of course, it may be a better idea to use the ISPs mail server for outbound mail, that is what I usually do when I have users that must be on POP3

-red
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by:msha094
ID: 17909774
I have set up rpc over http lots and i know how good it is.  But im talking about accessing the machine and installing software on them which is the hard part.  Maybe router/firewall logs for checking access into the network from a particular ip address?
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by:manicsquirrel
ID: 17909855
Its my gut feeling that your outgoing mail server on port 25 is blocked regardless of what your ISP says it should be.  An easy way to tell is to change the outgoing server to the ISP's outgoing server.  If it doesn't work, there's a problem at the local computer, if it does work, they were probably blocking it.

I also agree that Outlook over  RPC/HTTP is a good idea.  You could always mail them a copy of the Outlook CD and have them install it themselves unless you would be exceeding your licenses.  Outlook Web Access is great as well.  I have remote clients that use it and they love it because the web client is so feature rich that it seems to be way better than Outlook Express.

If you ever want to perform configuration work on remote clients so you could check out their configuration yourself, you might want to check out www.ultravnc.com and read up on the SC version (single click).  You can run a proxy/repeater server on your server, and have a client make a connection to it by downloading a preconfigured executable that they only run and don't install.  You can then have their desktop.  We use it daily and have it embedded in our web page.
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by:msha094
ID: 17909945
If it were a licensing issue which it isnt, the server would not be unreachable right, it would say something like check user name and password or something to that extent?
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17909951
>unless you would be exceeding your licenses

That shouldnt be an issue, Outlook 2003 is free with the Exchange 2003 CALs - so they would be exceeding the licenses now already

Is it ALL remote users that are having problems?

Has it ever worked for the failing users?
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Author Comment

by:msha094
ID: 17909995
Yes it has worked for the failing users.  Not all remote sites are having the problem.  When i say licensing i mean CALS.  When i put the isp's smtp address it works fine.  I had to ring the isp and ask to opt out of port 25 filtering for all store connections.   Thats why i want to simply see if the request is even reaching our server as if it isnt i can go straight to the ISP and say "look this is the problem".
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17910038
I posted the logs location about, have a look

-red
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manicsquirrel earned 500 total points
ID: 17910350
You can have them perform a command line test.  I think this will work the way I am thinking it does.

1. Open a command line, type telnet %your_smtp_server% 25 (e.g. telnet mail.domain.com 25) and press enter
2. Wait a few seconds and you should receive a response back from the server that looks similar to:

220-host.xxx.org ESMTP Exim 4.52 #1 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 17:57:22 -0500
220-We do not authorize the use of this system to transport unsolicited,
220 and/or bulk e-mail.

If a repsonse is never received, then port 25 is being blocked.
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by:manicsquirrel
ID: 17910422
I could be wrong, but if you are using RRAS there is no loggin done for incoming routing.  If you are using ISA then it's really easy to minor the incoming connection.  If you must, you can download a trial version of EtherDetect and monitor the incoming packets on the external NIC.  You can save the buffer to a log file after you've finished capturing the data.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17910475
SMTP is after RAS, so will be logged

The telnet test above is a good idea, although the response isn't going to look like that (being that we are talking about exchange here)

http://www.amset.info/exchange/telnet-test.asp

-red
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by:dhoustonie
ID: 17915138
If you have ISA installed, just look for connections originating from your remote sites in the logs. Save setting up a mirrored port and configuring a sniffer.
I believe the telnet solution is the best, but test for both port 25 and 110, so that you know both work for you.
Regards,
David
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