How to set up a Blackberry with Exchange (without using Blackberry Enterprise server)
Since this article was written in Jan 2007, it is now possible to do the following:-
- On the Blackberry- an application called NotifySync* has been developed which can be installed on the Blackberry and uses ActiveSync for full mailbox synchronisation over the air. We use this for our own customers and recommend it as a solution.
- On your Server - BlackBerry Professional Software Express which provides the functionality of 'Blackberry Enterprise Server for Exchange' for small businesses and it comes with 1 free user and can grow up to 30 users.
- With your mobile/cellphone provider - IMAP and Outlook Web Access (OWA) have been made available via the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) with mobile/cellphone providers. This supports synchronisation of your mail with move/delete (not calendar/contacts/tasks though)
which all provide a superior solution to this setup. However not all situations are equal and there may sometimes be reasons for reproducing the setup below and is kept for historical reasons and for its comments.
Most individuals that use their Blackberry in a small businesses environment would not buy Blackberry Enterprise Server for Exchange as it is simply too expensive and quite pointless for one or two users. Here is one method to bypass this and use the (UK) mobile phone providers Blackberry infrastructure and run it in conjunction with your Exchange system. (I'll also mention here that runPCrun can provide fully managed Microsoft Exchange hosting* with the ability to add full "over the air" Blackberry synchronisation - starting at £14 p/mailbox/month, call us if you are interested in this.)
The main main advantages of the following set-up compared to just setting up standard POP3 collection are:-
- immediate (push) delivery of messages (rather that waiting for the Blackberry service to poll the POP3 provider)
- No need to open POP3 ports through your firewall
- Items sent via your Blackberry are kept in your Sent Items in Outlook/Exchange.
This is attained with a little bit of tweaking and performs very well, although (obviously) the calendar,notes and tasks are not synchronised over the Internet as with the full blown server. In a small company this is not an issue and the synchronisation can occur easily using the cradle.
What this method does in a nutshell - when an email is received, it is forwarded immediately to a mobile providers blackberry address. When a new mail or reply is sent from the Blackberry, it is sent masquerading as the Exchange email, and a copy is BCC'ed to the Exchange email address. This email is the sorted into the Sent Items folder using a server side rule.
The steps to attain this are thus:-
Find out the PIN & IMEITo find your PIN & IMEI perform one of the following actions:
- In the BlackBerry device options or settings, click Status.
- Turn the BlackBerry device off and remove the battery. Look for the sticker on the BlackBerry device with the PIN information where the battery is usually located, usually placed above the SIM card.
Setup via the mobile providers web interface
There are two methods. You either set-up on your blackberry directly or using the Blackberry Internet Service web interface. Just ask your provider for the address of the web interface.
Common ones include:-
- O2 - http://o2email.co.uk/
- Vodafone - http://www.mobileemail.vodafone.net/
- T-mobile - http://www.instantemail.t-mobile.co.uk/
- Orange - http://www.blackberry.orange.co.uk/
- 3 - http://3uk.blackberry.com/
- Virgin Mobile - https://bis.na.blackberry.com/html?brand=virginmobile
(You can also try to do a Google search for "blackberry internet service" nameofprovider if your provider is not listed here)
Sign up the Blackberry via the web interface using the PIN and IMEI that you have on your Blackberry. In the web interface set up the following (the following settings have largely been removed from most providers):-
- Autoaging - 1 day (to keep your mailbox clean, sometimes only 10Mb available)
- Change the "Sent From Address" to the address you wish to use.
- Set a filter on the account to "not send" on receiving emails from the email address you will be masquerading as.
- and of course any other Filters or Signatures that you wish to have and use.
- If one hasn't been created by your provider, click on the button for creating a blackberry email address
- For sent items retrieval set Auto BCC: to your own email address.
- In Active Directory Users and Computers on the Exchange Server, set up a Contact for the BLACKBERRY address (you'll see that in the "Email accounts" section of the Blackberry Internet Service that you can get a providers email address e.g.on o2 it will be will be something like firstname.lastname@example.org) You may want to hide this from the Global Address List after configuring everything.
- Set up a forward in Exchange on his normal account to the new "Contact" mail account.
- Hide the new Exchange contact using the AD/Exchange manager afterwards (this part is optional, we simply found that some people can get confused by it when it is in the Global Address List).
Set a rule in Outlook (because you are using Exchange this will be a constantly working Server side rule) to move any emails received from yourself to be moved into the Sent Items folder. (this of course works on the assumption that you don't send emails to yourself normally, and if you do you will have to set a different rule up, perhaps identifying via Email Headers). I've seen a couple of providers weirdly encode the From: address so a rule may not work. You will see for instance
From: Joe Bloggs <3kfjUTFemail@example.com>
If you are having problems with the rules not matching, just check the email headers and set a rule to match the encoded address as well.
Sending and receiving email is transparent to the end-user through the Blackberry and are sent and received as the primary email address in Exchange. Emails sent from the Blackberry are stored in the users Sent Items folder in Exchange and all without having to set up a Blackberry Enterprise Exchange Server and without having to start up and open POP3 on your Exchange server.
* means there is some referral or partnership with these suppliers via the links given. Check out our stance on reviews and recommendations.