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Wireless cannot connect to OWA

Posted on 2014-01-07
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Last Modified: 2014-01-12
When my users are away from the office, their active sync email (Exchange 2003) works fine on their smart phones/tablets.  In the office, they have to shut off their wireless lan connection on their cell before it will work.  Only works through cellular connection.

Here's what I THINK is going on:

It's a DNS issue.  Outside email address is going to mail.companyname.com.  Inside the domain is company.local.  Wireless doesn't know how to get to mail.companyname.com from the inside.

I think I need to create a new zone (is this possible on an SBS2003 box?) and point the outside address to the NATted inside server, like mail.companyname.com = 192.168.1.50 or something similar.

Does this sound right?  What else could it be?
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Question by:svillardi
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dipersp earned 2000 total points
ID: 39764065
Exactly right. Sounds like there are some bigger issues lurking, but you can open the DNS console and add this record.

My recommendation is to add a new zone for the domain mail.companyname.com. Then create a single a record with no host name and point it to the internal ip of the Exchange server.

Doing it this way versus creating a zone for companyname.com and then creating an a record against mail as a host name will keep you from having to create and maintain other DNS records that are in your public DNS.
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39764088
OK, so I created a new zone, but when I tried to create an A record, it asks for a host.  Never saw a DNS record without the host name.  How is that possible?
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by:dipersp
ID: 39764091
Just leave the host blank.  Perfectly fine - ever go to google.com instead of www.google.com?  Same idea.
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39764092
I also need to know what will happen when an application tries the short name, what will be resolved -- or does it matter, because they will both be going to the same IP address?

mail.companyname.com
versus
mail.company.local

I guess the app won't care, right?
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by:dipersp
ID: 39764096
I assume by "shortname" you mean your local domain?  You're not touching DNS records there, so this should have no affect on them.
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39764122
Ok, your google analogy makes sense to me.  But what's the harm in creating the record that uses host name "mail"?

inside zone mail.company.local = 192.168.1.50
outside zone mail.companyname.com = 192.168.1.50

?

Thanks for answering these questions.  Want to make sure I fully understand the solution before implementing.
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by:dipersp
ID: 39764124
If you create a zone called companyname.com and place ONLY mail in it, your WWW record will suddenly no longer work from within the company walls.  So you'll have to now create a WWW record (And remember to change it if your WWW internet record changes) as well as any other records that are hosted under companyname.com on public DNS servers.
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39764149
Why would I have to update public addresses for a NATted IP?  My query for www.companyname.com should be resolved locally with the new companyname.com zone, no?  I would simply update internal DNS.

Before, their DNS lookup would go outside to the ISP for a lookup.  Now they'd come internally because the zone exists inside the network.

But then what about the A record -- if I'm doing the google.com vs www.google.com example, I am pointing the "no host" entry to a particular internal IP (the mail server).  Aren't ALL queries to that .companyname.com domain now going to resolve to the same internal address?
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by:dipersp
ID: 39764162
What I'm trying to say is if you create a zone called mail.companyname.com, you're saving yourself the work and headache of having to now maintain www.companyname.com and any other records that are on public DNS.

By creating a zone called mail.companyname.com, any queries for www.companyname.com (Or anything.companyname.com) will continue on to your public DNS servers.  Whereas if you create a zone called companyname.com, EVERYTHING internal destined for xyz.companyname.com will have to be setup in the internal DNS for companyname.com.

You certainly CAN create a zone called just companyname.com, but not you'll have to duplicate every record you have with your public DNS into that internal zone.
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39764200
OK, your last comment finally sealed it for me and now it makes sense.  

In rereading your first post, I didn't pick up creating a zone called mail.companyname.com.  I thought you meant to create a zone called companyname.com.  Which explains all of my questions...  Your last post reiterated what I wrote in the previous post (you agreed with my assumptions) and explained it better.  Thanks for keeping with it...

Testing it tomorrow (I'm offsite).  When finished, I will award all the points.

Much thanks!
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by:dipersp
ID: 39769834
Any luck?
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39769956
Well, no bad stuff at least, because I did not get a call. But nothing good either, bc I didn't get a call.
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Expert Comment

by:dipersp
ID: 39769981
What happens when you ping the internal name?  Is it resolving to the internal ip of the Exchange box?
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Author Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39770364
From inside the office, pinging the shortname, the local domain or the "external" domain all resolves to the correct IP address.

I just want to see real world results before wrapping this one up.

Using the subdomain was a great idea.  Thanks again.
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Author Closing Comment

by:svillardi
ID: 39775222
Thanks for showing me a better way of using a subdomain to fix the wireless issue.  Pretty smart, I must say...  I am onsite today and tested it using my iPhone.  Worked like a champ.
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