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Outlook extremally slow over VPN

Posted on 2008-06-11
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Last Modified: 2009-07-01
Hi All,

I have a very weird problem with Outllook 2003 connecting to Exchange 2003 SP2 over VPN. Outlook in Cached mode.

Even though VPN speed is quite good (browsing network, downloading files etc.) then, when it comes to the Outlook, it can take even 10 minutes (!) to download 500 KB mail. Over that time it's poping up with "Outlook is trying to retrieve data from the Microsoft Exchange Server ..." every now and then. Probllem is also vidible while browsking public calendars - sometime Outlook can open calendar, and few seconds later hang for some time ("not responding" for few minutes...) .

Have no idea what's wrong, user says it started friday evening. Was trying alternative broadband services with no effect. :(

Any ideas?

Thanks,
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Question by:dannydudek
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by:Ehab Salem
ID: 21759592
When you ping the mail server what is the reply avg speed?
Maybe the mail server is located on another location than the other servers!
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21759786
I usually associate the pop up message you are seeing with connectivity problems on a really big mailbox that is getting downloaded for the first time.

Try a perpetual ping going and see if you are either seeing the low speeds that ehabsalem commented about or  some consistent loss of connectivity.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21759943
Mailbox is 900 MB in size.

Mail server respond withing 136 ms in avarage. IMHO it's not too bad. All servers (DC/MAIL) are in the same location and work perfect.

:(
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21760002
WOW...that's a huge mailbox.Still in cached mode without the entire thing coming down...

Two things...and neither of these would explain why it just started on Friday, but something to check...

1. Let the ping run while the user access Outlook. When he gets the message see if the ping gets longer or if you get a loss of connectivity.

2. Set up a new user and mailbox or you can use a test user with a small mailbox.  Log onto the affected PC as this user and access the mailbox.  If you get no issues with this second user, I would think that perhaps the huge size of the mailbox may be causing the issue.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21760031
1. Ping is running very stable, even when Outlook is hanging.

2. will do , however i would like to notice, that network usage while Outlook is working/hanging is very low (between 10 - 50 kbps) on 1mbps/1mbps connection, so wouldn't extect amont of data is a problem here....
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21760064
If the ping is stable I am wondering if the huge mailbox is causing some issue on the Exchange server which is then showing up as an apparent slowness on the user's computer. I've never dealt with a mailbox that large and am not totally sure how it might affect things...10 minutes does seem like a long time even for a mailbox that big...but it doesn't seem that raw connection speed is the issue and it doesn't appear that you are losing connectivity.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21760348
I logged in to some other user mailbox (only 20 MB) , and is the same story.

Just wanted to mention that server is way overspec, and running our exchange structure doesn't cause it any problems.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21760436
Is this the only PC doing Outlook operating over this VPN connection?  Wonder if the PC itself is under some stress.  If you have other users and they are not experiencing this problem, you should check Task manager for processes that are being resource hogs or memory or CPU that is being overdriven.

If not, about the only other suggestion that I would have is to either completely uninstall office and reinstall, do a repair on Office and/or make sure that Office has the latest services packs and patches.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21760526
No, i went through 2 laptops and both have  symptoms. Was watching performance, they seem to be bored. I have very few VPN users and they don't use outlook, so no one else reported the problem.

On one of the tested laptops I have full uptodate package - Office 2003 SP3 + XP SP3, so more up-to-date coudn't be...

Is there anything with MTAs i could try? I googled it, but can't make any sense from it...
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21760702
Found some others that have some similar situation to you.  Some suggestions were to make the user's email editor not Word or set up a terminal server situation with the T/S on the main LAN and have him access his email from there.

I also found this link which I found interesting as it does address some of the MTU concerns of a slower VPN connection.  The user is in an older environment, but think that some of the same things would apply.  I can't vouch for the effeciveness of the registry edits so take normal precautions if you try any of them.

http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=651431
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21761007
Ok - the registry trick didn't help :( neither disabling Work as mail editior.

However - interesting twist - there's no problem with sending mails. When sending big mail, the connection is reaching very reasonable speeds (300 - 600 Kbps). problem is only with downloading mails :/

i just runned test from my home computer - completly different situation - Outlook 2007, Vista, different broadband connection. Exactly the same problem however :/

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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21761292
When you were doing the Reg hacks from the link above, did you do the one about changing the RPC binding order or just the other one.. I did find another reference to the RPC binding order hack. It was in a post for Outlook 2000 so suppose this problem may have been fixed in later versions of Outlook.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21761335
Not a solution for the "why" of the problem, have you tried using OWA instead of Outlook?
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21761371
Also, have you tried using RPC over HTTP for your connection?  I think that it's something you specifically have to turn on and, if I remember right, you also have to be running totally with 2003 AD.
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21761442
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Outlook_2003_Connect_Exchange_2003.html

Here is the link I meant to put in the post about RPC
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21767720
Hi All,

I kmow i could walk around the problem by using RPC over HTTP, but what is really annoying me is the problem itself. Apperently it didn't start until some time las week, it doesn't seem to be on client site, or the VPN tunnel itself (browsing/downloading from network, also sending mails works fine).

Interesting thing is, that if i use SonicWall VPN Client rather than dial in ti RRAS server, everhting works perfect...
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21768313
Interesting...we use RRAS for our VPN authentication as well and my remote Outlook doesn't have cached mode enabled and I've never seen this problem. Since it just started recently, could it be that a patch was applied to the RRAS server right before the problem started or has something changed that would cause the RRAS server to be under stress.  Perhaps it just needs to be rebooted?
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21778566
Reboot didn't solve the problem. In fact, i build completly new VPN server, and problem persist when connecting to it :/
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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21778628
OK, I know this makes no sense, but can you try and access Outlook from this device with another user account with a smaller mailbox and make sure that you are NOT running cached exchange mode.  The initial pull may take a while, but I am interested to see if it might actually run faster without cached exchange mode...which as I said seems totally counter intuitive. But nothing else that makes sense that we've tried has worked.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21778886
tried. still no joy. Outlook still extremally slow. Whatever I do, Outlook never downloads data faster than around 60kbps (30 kbps in avarage). It can sends faster, also, VPN can download/send data faster, just Outlook over VPN seems to be causing problems :/ I even used different internet connections to the new VPN server (we have two in the office). I would say that I tried to replace everything apart from mail server at this stage ... :/

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by:jhyiesla
ID: 21779275
Have to say that I am out f ideas.  We done all of the obvious stuff and some even non-obvious. I can't think of anything else to change.
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by:dannydudek
ID: 21779328
ok, thanks for all your help anyway!
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Accepted Solution

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dannydudek earned 0 total points
ID: 22519891
This problem has been solved.

Turns out Exchange server was moved to different OU in AD on day when problem with VPN started. Restart of Mail server resolved VPN issue.
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Expert Comment

by:oasistechnical
ID: 24757781
Hi

I got exactly the same problem, Server 2008, exchange 2007, outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003.
Can acces files and documents at good speed, ping reponse times are like 50 - 80ms.
Outlook just hangs and cannot send or receive emails.

New setup with RRAS and MS VPN client?

Any ideas?
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