Link to home
Start Free TrialLog in
Avatar of 8_Gates

asked on

Phones losing connection to Exchange server

We are currently experiencing issues with smart phones being able to sync to our Exchange server.  The phones will not sync and eventually begin syncing again within an hour.

Front End: Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2.  Exchange 2003 Standard SP2.  All current microsoft patches.
Back End: Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2.  Exchange 2003 Enterprise SP2.  All current microsoft patches.

The front end server is at our data center and the back end server is at the facility where the hundreds of users are located.

What we have determined thus far:
The back end server is moving about 1 MB of data per second according to the local area connection status.  The T1 lines are completely flooded.  HTTP traffic is absurdly high between the sites.  Solar Winds shows 25-35 Mbps traffic just between the front end and back end servers, about 1 GB of data every 15 minutes.  If we take down the cell phones (block the port in the firewall) everything drops to realistic levels.  

As a side note, we have had a massive increase in Android phones in the past few months too if that has anything to do with it.

Wondering if anyone has any ideas?  
Avatar of p912s
Flag of United States of America image

Why do you think it's Exchange?

Do local Outlook users lose connection to the server?

I have a client with several Droid based smart phones and we've experienced similar issues. Verizon told me the OS on the phone is the problem.

We have a few users (myself included) that use iPhones and they never experience a problem. But the Droid users have experienced the problem you mentioned plus it will quit syncing altogether and you need to delete/add (on the phone) the account to get it to sync again. The second problem was so bad last year before some of the updates from Google they had users that would delete/add there account in the phone at least once a week.

Verizon told me that any intermittent signal issue or network congestion can cause the phone to stop syncing and in some cases damage the account on the phone which requires it to be deleted and added back.

To troubleshoot I would start by changing the phone settings and turning off Push notification, and only sync the last day of email. Depending on your number of users making all of their email available on the phone may be too much depending on the amount of mail they have sitting on the server.


Avatar of 8_Gates


Scot, my main concern is that the traffic across my T1's between my front end and back end email servers has spiked to 4GB of data per hour - all HTTP - and I would normally expect it to be less than a tenth of that.   I don't really care about the phones themselves at this point.

Local users do not lose connection.  My droid users are experiencing the same thing as my Palm users which is that the phones fail to sync on a regular basis.  When the smart phones lose connection, my back end exchange server shows W3SVC errors because it is timing out seeing my front end server.

I have thought about changing the settings on the phones as you have suggested, but they are widespread across the country and on several platforms (treo, pre and htc mainly.)  Any idea if I can make that kind of change globally?
Unfortunately push notification is a phone setting...

But in the Mobile Mailbox Policy's Sync Settings in Exchange you do have control over the amount of data that can be synced and you can disable or limit the size of attachments.

And by default past calendar items and past email is set to ALL on the Exchange Server I'm looking at.

Since your devices are scattered about I would start by changing those settings and see if the situation improves.

If it does help and you have users that just can't live without all of their old email while mobile you could create multiple policies and apply as needed for standard users and those with different needs.

Avatar of 8_Gates


I have looked all through active directory and exchange system manager but I cannot seem to find the mobile mailbox policy sync settings.  Where do I find these in exchange 2003 or Active Directory?
Have a look at this link and see if it helps you find the policy.

I'm working with Exchange 2008 and it's different...

Avatar of 8_Gates


Yeah, I already have the mobile admin tools and they pretty much just give you the ability to delete or wipe phones with that console.  I know 2007 has the ability to get more granular, but I don't see it in 2003.

I think you are probably right and that it is a phone or two that are causing the problem.  On my enterprise server I have about 10 different mailbox stores and I notice that if I take two of them down my traffic drops.  I have spent the last several night moving around mailboxes to try to isolate the problem, but I have dozens of mailboxes in each store so it's an arduous process that is eating up my nights and hasn't yielded anything as of yet.
Quick search about the differences between 2003 and 2007 confirm that 2007 has more control.

This Q&A has some info that may help.
Avatar of 8_Gates


If I were on Exchange 2007, I could implement the policies suggested.  Unfortunately, Exchange 2003 lacks the tools.  Only way to do it in '03 is to use a policy to delete it from the mailbox itself, not the phone.

Still looking for any ideas on how to track down what is causing the flooding.
Have you watched the traffic with a packet sniffer? If the problem is being caused by  1 or 2 devices the traffic to thos edevices should be obvious whne reviewing traffic.

The only thing you would know for sure is the external ip of where the data is flowing. Tracking that back to a particular user might be tough, but you should at least have a country/area of a country to review.

Avatar of 8_Gates

Link to home
This solution is only available to members.
To access this solution, you must be a member of Experts Exchange.
Start Free Trial
Avatar of 8_Gates


We ended up installing a new exchange server so the problem was resolved.