I'm sure there are several of you out there are bonded at the hip and hand with your Blackberry. You have sealed many a deal with your trusted companion and you have no problem paying for that Blackberry Enterprise Server each year. You have never liked change very much. After all, it took you several years to ditch the desk calendar for the Outlook Exchange calendar. When people ask you why you still use the device, it's easy to say "if it's not broken, don't fix it" and "I need my emails to come instantly." Those are two valid points, however for those of us that find Apple and Android devices to be more effective, we need our email and calendar services to be instant also. Microsoft knew this and came out with their ActiveSync service for Exchange.
Microsoft ActiveSync allows Apple iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile phones to share the same type of instant access service for our email, calendar, and more. Active Sync came natively installed on Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010, however those of us with Exchange 2003 seemed doomed. It would make sense for Microsoft to not offer it on Exchange 2003, from a business perspective, however we are looking at this from a consumer perspective. Microsoft actually listened, yes I said MICROSOFT LISTENED, and offered ActiveSync for Exchange 2003 as an addon. I had the opportunity to set one up this past weekend and after long hours of testing and troubleshooting, I thought I would include a few things I learned to help cut your configuration and troubleshooting down to a minimum.
1) Make sure you have Service Pack 2 installed on the target machine. You can find this by opening "Exchange Manager" and clicking on Help--About Microsoft Management Console.
2) Make sure that your SSL certificate has your external mail host name (i.e. mail.yourdomain.com) and not the LAN hostname (i.e. exchangeserver.domain.local)
3) Look in your Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager and make sure you have SSL enabled on your Micosoft ActiveSync and not on the Default Website.
4) If you have Outlook Webmail Access configured on the Exchange Server and you dont have a front end server, create an additional virtual host in IIS and name it exchange-oma. There are several tutorials on how to set this up. You have to copy the Exchange virtual directory and modify the registry. Google "Creating exchange-oma virtual directory."
5) Once you have it all setup and you are ready to test it, there is a tool that is very helpful for confirming and/or troubleshooting your configuration. It's located at https://testexchangeconnectivity.com/ This is what what showed me where my errors were.
In the end, we all want the same thing, fast access and instant notifications. During this day and age, we can no longer blame our internet connections. Not only has broadband access increased substantially, but so has our mobile access. With the advent of 4G, whatever the definition of 4G is, we at least know that we can now access our email, calendar, and contacts anywhere in the world. With Microsoft ActiveSync, we can now pair speed and availability with our powerful hand rockets know as mobile phones.