What are the disadvantages of using the POP3 Connecter with SBS Server 2008 with Exchange?

Posted on 2010-11-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
My team has rolled out a SBS server 2008 for a client that has a remote office.  Their primary IT that is in Canda wants us to enable the POP3 connector for Exchange,  my server guy is against the idea, instaed of slowing him down I said I would look into why not to do this.  Looking through the web there is some info but not much besides no likes the idea.  Can anyone tell me what are the disadvantages of using the connector with the supporting links?
Question by:PCRepairGuy
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Accepted Solution

rindi earned 172 total points
ID: 34088641
Does the customer use an external mail provider or not? If he uses an external mail provider he needs the pop3 connector so he can collect the mail (unless that external mail provider also uses exchange and you can connect directly to it using mapi). If there is no external mail provider involved you shouldn't use pop3, as with pop3 you you only transfer mails, while if you have a mapi connection, you can also use all other exchange features, like notes, contacts, calendar etc.
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Expert Comment

ID: 34089333
POP3 is usually done insecurely by clients.  You can change that, but default behavior is insecure.

POP3 would increase bandwidth and storage, as one message to 10 users would be stored as 1 message in Exchange, but 10 messages on an external mail client downloading via POP3.

POP3 is the most common way for employees to route mail outside and Exchange domain (to Gmail, yahoo, other mail server) without arousing suspicion.  If the admin leaves POP3 turned on, it allows access to smartphones _as_well_as copies to an outside mail service.  I don't turn it on because of this alone.  If the device wants to attach to the Exchange server...then do it the Exchange way.

If the POP3 connector is for downloading messages from another server...there may not be a way around that.  You'd pull messages from another server into your existing accounts.  A better way to do that (if HQ is receiving all mail) is to setup their SMTP server to route messages for your addresses to your server.  Then, there's not timing delay waiting for the POP3 connector to login and download.  It would be just another incoming SMTP message.

Assisted Solution

Shack-Daddy earned 328 total points
ID: 34089479
- Loss of single-instance storage for inbound attachments, as was mentioned
- The annoyance of additional provisioning steps when you create new users
- Lack of visibility when there are problems with inbound mail: typically you would lack message tracking tools at the ISP who's holding your mail.
- An additional log to check (enabled via registry hack) when having trouble with POP downloading

With SBS 2003, POP3 Connector bypassed local anti-spam (IMF) controls, but that's no longer the case with SBS 2008: incoming mail through the connector goes through the same transport pipeline as mail from the internet and can still be rejected due to content. That's a good thing to keep in mind when troubleshooting.

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Expert Comment

ID: 34089749
A few reasons, which will just re-enforce what the experts above have said:

1. Insecure clients use POP3
2. Increased Bandwidth, as you have the SBS POP3ing from an external Server
3. SBS has a 15min delay for downloading emails (this is between downloads and is the shortest period you can set this to), and can only down 2 email boxes at the same time, so if one user has a large email come through the pipe it will hold up delivery on all the other mailboxes to that environment.
4. POP3 on SBS will bypass IMF (Exchanges inbuilt SPAM filter - as bad as it is - still better than nothing)
5. When creating new users in the AD, you need to also ensure you create them where the email is hosted - double handling user account creation / password management
6. POP3 should be used when you have a dynamic IP Address issued by your ISP. So your WAN Address can change at anytime. For Exchange to accept mail in its traditional method - by having emails delivered to it directly, you need to have a STATIC IP.
7. Based on point 7, you will need to setup a Dynamic DNS record so that EU's can access OWA etc, since your server does not have a STATIC WAN Address.

There are more, but 2 of the primary reasons I wouldnt setup exchange 03 on and SBS Server with POP3 is Point 2 and Point 7/8.

Hope this helps

Assisted Solution

Shack-Daddy earned 328 total points
ID: 34093701
Most of these commenters seem to be blurring the difference between using the POP3 Connector and setting up the server to allow POP3 connections. They are very different. But I'd like to comment on The Dark1's points, ignoring the irrelevant ones that are for client-connections or that assume you have to do this because of a dynamic IP:

2. There will be an increase in bandwidth, but only because Single Instance Storage for attachments is lost, not for other significant reasons.

3. The 15 minute delay is probably the biggest reason why, practically, end users would rather not have things set up this way. BTW, this is not always a 15 minute delay, that's just the max delay a user would experience if someone sent something right as the previous download process finished. The large-email-stuffing-the-pipe problem isn't radically different than normal SMTP mail doing the same thing.

4. On SBS 2008, which you are running, the POP3 Connector does not bypass the Anti-Spam filters, it is just another way to get mail into the regular SMTP pipeline: all the mail that traverses the pipeline is handled the same way.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 35135775
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See my comment at the end of the question for more details.

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