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Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

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  • Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

    Hi,

    I have been trying to troubleshoot this issue for more than a week now. After reading several message boards and news groups, I am almost giving up. I hope somebody with a kind heart will help.

    Here's what we have in our office:
    - AD Server - Win2K3 SP2
    - Exchange Server - Exchange2K3 SP2 on Win2K3 SP2
    - Web Server - Win2K SP4
    - Checkpoint's firewall appliance
    - Symantec Antivirus Corporate v8.00.9374 on all servers

    Here's what we have for our home pc's:
    - Windows XP SP2
    - some with Outlook Express 6
    - some with Outlook 2K3
    - I have built one PC with the anti-virus's email scanning feature turned off

    Here's what we have been regularly doing:
    - We use Outlook or OE to retrieve email from home using pop3
    - We use ftp to edit our website
    And everything used to be fine, but...

    Here's our problem:
    - We get intermittent "good" connections when we hit "send and receive" button.
    On "good" connections, we are logged in and message are quickly retrieved.
    On "bad" connections, after we hit the "send and receive" button, the status window pops up and say "connected" with the status "executing", but after a minute, a new window will pop up and say that the pop3 server has not responded. When "stop" is chosen, on Outlook Express, it gives error number 0x800CCC19; while on Outlook, it gives error number 0x8004210A
    - Checking the Exchange server's event log, I see no errors and everything looks clean
    - On a side note, this might be of help too. Around the same time that we started to see this problem given above, when we ftp to our web server, we also get intermittent connections. To test, I use the DOS FTP client. On "good" connections, login prompt shows up and I can get in it. On "bad" connections, it will only say "connected to {our web server}" and just freeze there. I don't even see the login prompt. Used to be, we can use windows explorer and enter "ftp://{our url}", after the login prompt, we are in. But now, it just gives us the "rotating flashlight" and just freezes.

    Changes done:
    None, firewall appliance was never touched, no firmware upgrade was applied for a while now.

    I have seen discussions on message boards ranging from MTU issues to antivirus software. I've read and did some recommendations but nothing worked. I need help. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

    First thing to look at with connectivity issues on Exchange is the TCP Chimney issue. This is discussed in this blog posting: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/20...18/446400.aspx

    Make sure that your NIC drivers are up to date and disable the feature as outlined in that article. It is now a standard setting for me on new builds.

    Why are you using POP3 for remote access. Has nothing to do with your problem, but the preferred method to collect email remotely from Exchange is RPC over HTTPS. Ensures the email stays on the server and cannot be accidentally removed. As far as I am concerned POP3 is not a protocol for business use.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

      Thanks for you ultra quick reply, Simon.

      I have read through the link you gave me and gave it a shot. I have executed the netsh command and disabled the chimney feature. I still have the same problem.

      I will also look into your RPC over HTTPS suggestion later, as soon as I fix this issue.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

        Have you rebooted the server?
        Updated the NIC drivers?
        I am pretty sure that this is not a problem with Exchange but connectivity, windows or ever hardware related.

        Simon
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

          Hi Simon,

          Have you rebooted the server?
          - the link you suggested said that a reboot is not needed if the netsh command is used.

          Updated the NIC drivers?
          - i got the latest NIC drivers
          - also, i have been running on the same NIC driver for more than a year now. the problem just started 2 weeks ago.

          I am pretty sure that this is not a problem with Exchange but connectivity, windows or ever hardware related.
          - good point, thanks!

          Thank you very much for your time!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

            If the NlC drivers have been in place for a year then you need to check for updates. I know Broadcom have updated drivers.
            Have you run the Exchange Best Practises Tool on this system recently? http://www.exbpa.com

            Simon
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

            Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
            More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
            Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
            In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

            Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Intermittent connectivity to Exchange Server 2003

              Thank you for your kind heart.

              Our IBM server (x445) has Broadcom embedded chipset, and would only rely on IBM's list of drivers to be complliant with their support. As of this moment, IBM doesn't have the latest driver for the VMware platform.

              We are running VMware on x445, and I have the default vmktools (with its drivers) running on my servers (VM).

              I have been running the best practices tool (app version 2.8.7926.0). This morning, the best practices report gave my exchange box a clean bill of health.

              Comment

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