Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) in Exchange Server 2003

by [Published on 10 Dec. 2003 / Last Updated on 10 Dec. 2003]

Marc Grote presents his first article for MSExchange.org and we are pleased to welcome him on board. Exchange 2003 provides a new cool Feature called Outlook Mobile Access (OMA). OMA allows users to access Exchange data by using mobile devices. Exchange 2003 provides two services for mobile users: Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and Microsoft Outlook Mobile Access. This article is based on Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition (Build 3790), Exchange 2003 Enterprise RTM and the Mobile Browser Simulator / Gateway from Nokia.

Exchange Server 2003 allows users of wireless and mobile phones, PDAs, or smart phones  access to Exchange data. Outlook Mobile Access and Exchange ActiveSync are the mobile service components that are built into Exchange Server 2003. These components enable mobile users to browse Exchange information, like to synchronizing contact, calendar, and Mailbox information. Exchange ActiveSync provided in Exchange Server 2003 allows users to synchronize their Exchange information (inbox, subfolders, calendar, contacts,) with their mobile device like Pocket PC 2002, Smartphone 2002 and Microsoft Windows Powered 2003 Mobile devices.

Exchange supports ActiveSync in two ways:

  • Manual = Allows a manual synchronization for mobile devices through the mobile end user.
  • Scheduled = Allows a scheduled synchronization. Exchange supports server initiated synchronization through Exchange ActiveSync and up-to-date notifications. Up-to-date notifications allow synchronization of mobile devices to be automated by using an up-to-date notification. You can configure a notification for the mobile device in the Mobile Services Properties.

The following software components are required for Outlook Mobile Access in Exchange Server 2003:

  • ASP.NET
  • ASP.NET Device Update 2
  • .NET Framework 1.1

The .NET Framework 1.1 is native integrated in Windows Server. 2003. For Windows 2000 Server - SP3 or later, the Exchange Setup automatically installs the .NET framework and ASP.NET. Exchange Setup also installs the ASP.NET Device Update 2.

The following table list the devices supported by Device Update 2.

  • NEC N503is iMode cHTML
  • Phone Edition, Smartphone 2002, or
  • NEC N504i iMode cHTML
  • Sony Ericsson T68i Sony Ericsson T68i XHTML
  • Panasonic P504i iMode cHTML
  • Pocket PC 2002, Pocket PC 2002
  • Windows Mobile 2003 devices
  • Fujitsu F504i iMode cHTML
  • Mitsubishi D503iS iMode cHTML

Newer versions of the device update package are available for download at http://www.asp.net.

OMA Feature in ESM

There are only a few configuration dialog boxes in Exchange System Manager (ESM) for OMA. All you need to do is to allow Outlook Mobile Access and if needed to allow unsupported devices (like in our test with the Nokia Browser Simulator).

Figure 1: OMA in ESM

Mobile Provider Properties

In this dialog box you have to specify the mobile providers SMTP domain for SMTP delivery (not needed for our scenario).

Figure 2: Mobile Provider Properties

OMA properties

In this dialog box you can configure Exchange Active Sync and Outlook Mobile Access features. All you need to do is to enable Outlook Mobile Access and if needed to allow unsupported devices (like in our test with the Nokia Browser Simulator).

Figure 3: OMA properties

Managing Mobile Devices with Exchange Server 2003

After a user completes the first successful synchronization from the Pocket PC, the device is automatically filled with the users mailbox folder tree, exposing all mailbox folders available for synchronization. Each folder can be selected for an up-to-date notification. If you have choose a folder for up-to-date notification, an event is set on the folder, which looks for new e-mail to be delivered to the folder. When the new e-mail arrives, an event runs inside the Exchange server mailbox store and creates a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) notification (configured by the OMA provider in ESM).

Devices such as mobile phones and PDAs that use cHTML, XHTML, or standard HTML browsers allows you to connect to the inbox, tasks, calendar, and perform a GAL (global address list) search. 

In addition to mobile phones, Windows Mobile devices using Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer and personal computers using IE 6.0 or later also support OMA.

OMA user account settings

This dialog box shows the user account properties in Active Directory Users and Computers. OMA is enabled per default for all user accounts.

Figure 4: OMA user account settings

Nokia WAP Gateway Simulator 4.0

To test the OMA functionality without a supported device you can use several WAP / OMA simulators like:

Nokia Wap Browser Emulator (Java based) and WAP Gateway
www.nokia.com search for Developer - Tools and SDK
www.winwap.com
http://www.ccwap.com/de/ccwap.exe
Klondike WAP Browser for Windows 1.5
http://www.simtel.net/product.php?id=53647
http://www.apachesoftware.com/download_kwpe.html

In this test scenario we use the Nokia WAP Gateway and Nokia Mobile Browser. The Nokia Mobile Browser is java based so you have to install a java engine (www.sun.com) before the Nokia setup. You have to register at www.nokia.com before you can download and use the Nokia Browser Simulator software. The installation is not part of this Guide.

Figure 5: Nokia WAP Gateway Simulator 4.0

Nokia Mobile Browser Simulator 4.0

This is the Frontend to simulate a WAP Browser for OMA. If the Mobile Browser is installed on the same machine as the Nokia WAP Gateway you doesn’t need to modify the default configuration. You only need to load the URL to access OMA (Default = http://exchangeservername/OMA).

You need to enter your Username (DOMAIN\Username) and password (not shown as a screenshot)

Figure 6 – 9 Nokia Mobile Browser Simulator 4.0

Conclusion

OMA (Outlook Mobile Access) is a very nice feature for the new mobile world. The integration of important parts from the Mobile Information Server in Exchange 2003 makes Exchange 2003 the first choice for mobile device integration. I hope this article gives you some useful information about OMA.

Related Links

Microsoft Exchange  2003 Homepage
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange

The Author — Marc Grote

Marc Grote avatar

Marc Grote is an MCSA/MCSE Messaging & Security, MCSE Private Cloud and Server Virtualization, an MCTS/MCITP and a Microsoft Certified Trainer and MCLC. He is a freelance Consultant and IT Trainer in the north of Germany near Hanover. He specializes in TMG/UAG Server, Exchange, System Center, Security for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 designs, migrations and implementations. His efforts have earned him recognition as a Microsoft MVP for ISA Server since 2004.

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