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exchange 2013 connection issues

Hi Experts,

Having connection issues with Ex2013 + Outlook 2007/10 clients.  Basic problem is that outlook client and exchange server aren't talking properly. Emails will get stuck in the outbox, outlook will be updating, outlook will drop connection and then restore itself.  connection to outlook has been restored, etc.  This is happening to all internal users and all seem to get a combination or one of the issues.  

This is not related to outlook profiles, corrupted ost's, different versions of outlook, etc.  as mentioned all users have the issue. ~50.  External users connecting via outlook anywhere are fine, no connection problems.

We have changed ADSL+WAN links recently (corporate network) and i believe the changes have pretty much started since then so this could be a network related issue.  Problem is every networking test checks out OK.  I have also tested and checked the connection status within outlook.  Even if stuck on updating it is OK.  Have also checked the MSexchange connectivity website and all OK, certificate is valid, naming is correct, etc.

Almost seems like it is dropping in and out of local and outlook anywhere access to talk to the server.  Although i am aware exchane2013 relies on outlook anywhere.  Have checked the Exchange server, no errors, all certificates, VD's and outlook anywhere config are correct.  Telnetting to all required ports internally, externally are OK.  All services running.  No issues with activesync, OWA.  Internal and external ping of server is fine.

Current work around is when outlook starts to play up, users close off for a few seconds and then reopen.  It works again for a little while before either drops connection and reconnects, emails get stuck in outbox or it sits on updating.  

Packet sniffing, tracerts to all network equipment, switches, etc have come back OK also.

Looking fwd to seeing if anyone has any suggestions.
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rick81
Asked:
rick81
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2 Solutions
 
KimputerCommented:
I have most Exchange servers with some type of this problem, but dropped connections are a bit extreme. Mostly when Exchange servers are a bit slow, or don't have enough internal memory will show the usual "Outlook is currently trying to communicate.." blablabla once in a while (for bigger mailboxes). Usually on the server, all the memory is used up, and starts using the hard disk's page file to swap memory. Ever since Exchange 2007 and up, 16GB for just 5 to 10 users is NOT a luxury, but more a must (when Exchange 2003 on 4GB could handle 30+ users). In your case, I'd say 32GB or even 64GB is necessary.
Can you check your memory, and its usage?
The reason outside clients don't notice this, is because Outlook knows it's outside, and doesn't communicate so rigorously with the server, while internal clients will try to keep the connection alive at all times.
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rick81Author Commented:
server has 16gb memory and using about 80% of that.  This is a Virtual server so i can up the memory easily.  CPU, HDD usage all seem low at the moment but it is outside business hours.
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KimputerCommented:
Please try to up the memory indeed (hopefully at least 32GB). If tomorrow, less people complain, or frequency of dropped connections is noticeably less, you know you're in the correct direction.
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rick81Author Commented:
yeh i've bumped it up to 32gb.  i really dont think that is the cause though as its been fine for last 12 mnths.  to memory only really started happening since out adsl/wan changes but have gone over that a few times now.
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rick81Author Commented:
would be great if i could knock off outlook anywhere to t/shoot direct LAN access to server but exchange 2013 needs OA to run.  PITA
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KimputerCommented:
I think I'm not seeing the picture here. Can you explain your network?
Why can't you use direct LAN access ? OA is an added function, it doesn't mean internal users have to use that? What happens if you start Outlook, manually set to Exchange, add Exchange by IP number, fill in username?
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rick81Author Commented:
multi site corporate network.  each site has 1 adsl router and 1 wan router.  wan router for private site to site network.
each site has exchange server.

to memory exchange 2013 had to have outlook anywhere enabled (by default) and clients configured to use.  if i open outlook and setup a new profile this configures all automatically.

if i setup manual profile with only the local IP and username it doesnt connect.  says exchange server needs to be online, etc.  if i enable OA and put in local server name it can then connect.  i havent set it like this on any clients yet, could do that tomorrow to test with.
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rick81Author Commented:
all clients currently have OA settings with external url.  mail.domain.com
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Andrew DavisManagerCommented:
i have seen something similar on a client with access to multiple mailboxes.
My case:-
client was running cached.

Solution:-
in exchange settings (on Client) turned off proxy settings.

also worth downloading process explorer http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
and see if any processes are spiking, particularly antivirus. Also check to see if any PID's are constantly changing. (I have had antivirus detect a client app as false positive PUP and keep killing a process, that automatically restarted causing an endless loop).

Cheers
Andrew
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rick81Author Commented:
By proxy settings u mean rpc over https? Can't disable that with exchange 2013
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Adam FarageEnterprise ArchCommented:
ADSL+WAN links recently

What is your actual bandwidth? Furthermore, when the issue comes up what does the server resources look like (consumption wise)? Has any of the boundary rules (firewall) changed at all?

Also, is this just for external users or internal also attempting to connect over RPC / HTTPS?
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rick81Author Commented:
Bandwidth seems to be the issue here and outlook 2007, sp3 seems to be using the external mail address to communicate.  Even though exchange is set with the correct internal and external addresses for outlook anywhere.
Some ping tests today to mail.domain.com gave mixed results so we have some internal networking issues.  I have set an internal DNS record and this has resolved the issue for now.

In working through this issue and looking at the proxy settings and differences between outlook 2007, sp3 and outlook 2010, sp2.  2007 seems to use external server names, mail.domain.com and outlook 2010, sp2 seems to use internal server name.  If i am using outlook 2010 externally from the office it seems to connect fine even when using the internal server name.  assuming this uses a combination of autodiscover and the cert and authenticates.  anyone know the ins and outs of outlook anywhere? or why our outlook 2007 machines keep wanting to use the external address.

thanks
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KimputerCommented:
It's normal practice for the FQDN to point to your public ip when outside and internal server ip when inside. It's not Outlook deciding it, it's you by configuring the DNS.
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Adam FarageEnterprise ArchCommented:
@Rick,

Kimputer is right. If you are doing Split DNS (which is what most of us would recommend, including MS) you would have an internal lookup zone within your internal DNS that has an A record for autodiscover.company.com AND mail.company.com pointing to the CAS (or CAS Array Virtual IP of the load balancer - if one is deployed) to ensure that internal traffic stays internal, and external traffic stays external.

Depending on how you have this setup, I would recommend looking at DNS. This is most likely your issue, and traffic is going back into the network thus causing a slowdown along with unrequired utilization of the Eth port.
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rick81Author Commented:
thanks for the responses.  this is what i have done (yesterday) and is now working fine.
i was hoping outlook was smart enought to realise when it was on the internal network and when it wasnt.
with our previous network setup this wasnt an issue as the external address resolved quickly.  now due to our new setup the external address traffic went through alot more routers, out to our core ISP and back again, this created the lag.
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itpurchCommented:
We were having the same issues and the CU7 was applied to the Exchange server and the server is running great now.
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