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Understanding Mobile Phone Connectivity

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2010-01-18

Many different mobile phones can synchronize with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. These mobile phones can run operating systems such as Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm, and Nokia. For an overview of the different mobile phones enabled for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, see Understanding Mobile Phones.

Regardless of the type of mobile phone you choose, there are two primary ways to connect to Exchange 2010: using cellular connectivity and using wireless connectivity. This topic provides an overview of the two connectivity options.

All mobile phones that are enabled for Exchange ActiveSync can use cellular connectivity to synchronize with Exchange 2010. There are several types of cellular data networks. Regardless of the type of cellular data network that your mobile phone uses, the method of synchronization is the same. If you have a Windows Mobile phone, or another phone that supports Direct Push, synchronization is done through Direct Push. If your mobile phone has another operating system, manual synchronization is used. When a mobile phone uses Direct Push to synchronize with Exchange 2010, it establishes a long-standing HTTPS connection with the server running Exchange. When the connection is first established, the mobile phone sets what is called a heartbeat interval. The default heartbeat interval is 15 minutes. If any new messages are added to monitored folders on the Exchange server within this heartbeat interval, the server informs the mobile phone and the mobile phone initiates synchronization. When synchronization is complete, a new HTTPS request is initiated and the process is repeated. For more information about Direct Push, see Understanding Direct Push.

Cellular data plans can charge by the minute, by the megabyte, or offer unlimited data transfer. When you use a cellular data connection with Exchange 2010 Direct Push, we recommend purchasing an unlimited data plan.

Many mobile phones and other mobile devices that are enabled for Exchange ActiveSync can connect to a wireless LAN. Connecting to a wireless LAN can provide faster network speeds and better coverage in areas where cellular coverage is unreliable. In addition, wireless access is sometimes offered at commercial locations such as coffee shops and book stores. The primary disadvantage to using wireless connectivity is that Direct Push doesn't work over a wireless LAN. Users who connect over a wireless LAN can perform manual synchronizations or configure scheduled synchronizations as frequently as every five minutes.

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