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NetMail XE Enhances Email Performance for Remote Offices

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Posted: 18 Dec 2002
 

Contents
Overview
The Solution: Novell NetMail XE Configured as an E-mail Cache
Novell NetMail XE and ISP Configuration
System Requirements
Estimated Setup Time
Overview

In instances where geographically distributed companies use an ISP to host e-mail, Novell? NetMail? XE can be used to significantly enhance e-mail performance for remote offices that send and receive e-mail via slow ADSL or dialup links. In effect, Novell NetMail XE acts as a polling post office cache that collects mail for a particular office from the company ISP and manages it locally for quick and easy access. Novell NetMail XE accelerates mail receipt and delivery and reduces the strain on limited bandwidth.

This solution is particularly valuable to companies which have multiple distributed, remote or branch offices that connect to a single ISP through slow connections. These remote offices are often not part of a WAN or VPN and each time a user sends or receives mail, an individual connection to the Internet is established via a common slow link. If e-mail includes large attachments, all access to the Internet for other purposes such as browsing or multiple e-mail transmissions is severely restricted. Time is wasted for the user awaiting the mail transfer as well as for other users sending/retrieving mail or accessing the Web. The problem is compounded when messages include large attachments and the number of e-mails received for a particular site reaches several hundred per day.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot simply redirect mail to a mail gateway at a particular branch site as other company offices still require access; the company domain must be resolved and reside at the centralized ISP to support multiple locations that share the same hosted domain. Using Novell NetMail XE as a local solution at the remote/branch office accelerates mail transfers, provides fast mail access and helps reduce the strain on limited bandwidth. Novell NetMail XE also provides additional mail storage and disaster management benefits in a solution that is simple to install and administer.
The Solution: Novell NetMail XE Configured as an E-mail Cache

Novell NetMail XE is a simple, reliable, inexpensive, standards-based POP/IMAP e-mail solution for small to medium businesses that runs on Windows? NT/2000 operating systems. Novell NetMail XE provides complete e-mail and basic calendaring services for any standard POP or IMAP client such as Outlook?, Outlook Express or Netscape? Mail. Advanced features include anti-virus, anti-spam, Web access and user self-service.

As an efficient, high performance, inexpensive e-mail caching solution, Novell NetMail XE can quickly and easily be installed at branch or remote offices in a matter of minutes. Novell NetMail XE continuously polls the company ISP, sending and retrieving e-mail and making it available locally whenever a local client requests it. To the local client, messages and large attachments are available quickly and are retrieved at local area network speeds. The time consuming and tedious process of requesting and sequentially receiving large messages over a slow link is eliminated for the individual user.

In short, here's how it works. A NetMail XE server is installed at the branch/remote office with connections to the Internet and the local area network. A mail sub-domain is created at the ISP that forwards all mail for the remote office to the Novell NetMail XE server. Clients send mail to and receive mail from the Novell NetMail XE server which operates as a mail cache, sending mail to and receiving it from the ISP. Because Novell NetMail XE more efficiently transports mail and attachments, bandwidth is conserved and local users send and retrieve mail as if they were using high-speed links.

Novell NetMail XE and ISP Configuration

Configuring NetMail XE as a caching solution requires three steps: setting up NetMail XE, configuring a sub-mail domain at the ISP, and configuring the local POP client. Novell NetMail XE setup is a simple process that can be completed in a matter of minutes and is documented in the NetMail XE Implementation Guide (http://www.novell.com/info/collateral/docs/4621305.01/4621305.html). Working with an ISP to configure sub-mail domains may require a little more work if ISP staff are not familiar with the process. Configuring POP clients is a simple configuration that is already required in order to communicate with any SMTP server.

Implementation Step Description
NetMail XE Server Configuration
Install NetMail XE Install NetMail XE at the remote office site on a Windows server OS (NT/2000/XP). See the Novell NetMail XE QuickStart Guide.
Configure NetMail XE Mail Domain options with company domain and DNS addresses provided by the ISP
?Prevent Relay? option turned off The Novell NetMail XE ?Prevent Relay? option needs to be selected with a check mark in the appropriate box. This prevents the generation of SPAM by not allowing unauthorized users to relay outbound messages.
Ensure internal and external connectivity The NetMail XE Server will require an assigned IP address from the ISP. It may also require two network cards?one for accessing the ISP and the other for local network connection.
Modify router (optional) If using an ADSL router to access the ISP, router settings may need to be modified so that ports 110 (POP) and 25 (SMTP) are open. If using a DSL modem, these ports may need to be opened by the ISP.
ISP Configuration
Add NetMail XE IP address to DNS Add the NetMail XE server IP address to the DNS tables at the ISP.
Create a sub-mail domain Create a sub-mail domain at the ISP and include the e-mail accounts of all e-mail users at the particular site where the Novell NetMail XE server is installed.
Include a Forward statement for each user Add a ?forward? statement for each remote user, forwarding e-mail for users in the sub-mail domain to the IP address of the Novell NetMail XE server.
Client Configuration
Specify the user's corporate e-mail address and account information as provided by the ISP
Specify the IP address of the Novell NetMail XE server as the ?incoming? and ?outgoing? mail servers
Testing
Test thoroughly Thoroughly test incoming mail by sending messages to users from inside the network, from the ISP, and from some outside source. Also test outgoing mail by sending test messages to local addresses, corporate addresses and to addresses outside the system. Incorrect configuration can affect corporate mail delivery or inconsistent incoming and outgoing mail services.
Optional Configuration
Web Access If users currently have the option to access e-mail via a browser interface or a Web mail option, your ISP should configure the ?leave mail on server' option so that mail is not deleted after it is downloaded to the NetMail XE server. Users will then still have the option to access their mail from a Web browser or other POP mail clients while on the road. Your ISP may also elect to automatically delete aged e-mail after a sufficient period of time such as 14 days.

The option also exists to use the Novell NetMail XE Web mail service for browser-based mail access. The ISP must open port 80 for the Novell NetMail XE server in order to use this feature. Users can then access Web-based mail by pointing a browser to the NetMail XE server IP address. Make sure that adequate firewall protection is in place around the NetMail XE server if this option is used.
Notice Statement It may be helpful to append a statement to e-mail which states that a copy of e-mail messages has been saved on the ISP server. This informs users that copies exist for Web-based access for a period of time.
System Requirements

NetMail XE Windows Server Requirements

  • Windows NT? 4 with SP6 and latest security fixes
  • Windows 2000 with SP2 and latest security fixes
  • Windows XP with latest security fixes
  • 20MB for installation plus disk space for user message storage (mailbox size can be restricted)
  • 128MB of available memory for NetMail XE beyond existing Windows requirements

Client Requirements

  • Any standards-based POP or IMAP client including Microsoft Outlook Express, Netscape, Pegasus and Eudora?
Estimated Setup Time

Novell NetMail XE can be installed in a matter of minutes. Time required to configure mail parameters and forwarding at the ISP will vary depending on ISP software, expertise of ISP support staff and the number of e-mail accounts that will be serviced by the Novell NetMail XE server. Estimated time for a small office is one hour.

Congratulations. You have successfully implemented a high speed e-mail access system for your remote or branch office. Novell NetMail XE not only provides accelerated e-mail access but also provides the following features and services:

  • Plug-in capability for standard anti-virus solutions such as CA InoculateIT/eTrust, McAfee NetShield and Symantec? Scan Engine 3.0 (formerly Symantec Carrier Server)
  • Anti-spam services block messages from e-mail and IP addresses as well as Realtime Blackhole lists (RBLs)
  • Calendaring enables coordination of meetings and appointments with multiple views
  • Self-service empowers users to manage mailboxes and modify personal settings for forwarding, vacation notices, signatures, etc. based on user-defined rules
  • Mail proxy allows users to pool mail from multiple accounts
  • Manage NetMail XE through either Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or an included Web-based administration interface, WebADM

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