Exchange 20xx and ActiveSync Testing

Over the years I’ve worked in many Exchange environments for customers using Exchange 5.5, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2010. One common task is to verify that ActiveSync is working.

In the old days you had use a test phone or your own phone to do this.  This meant using Windows 2003 SE, Windows 5 and Windows 6.x phones which would require a deleting of your current ActiveSync agreement with your own Exchange server and add the clients Exchange ActiveSync settings. Using this phone you could now verify Exchange URLs, certificates, ISA or firewall rules were all working.

Microsoft created a Windows Phone emulator that allowed a way to test ActiveSync using a very simple application and not a phone.  The emulator used your PC’s network connection to simulate a cell phone connection for a phone.  After your network connection was working you could add a new ActiveSync agreement on this ‘phone’ to perform your testing.

In 2009, Microsoft has added the Microsoft Remove Connectivity Analyzer [https://www.testexchangeconnectivity.com/]. You can see the functionality that has been added over time here.

Here is what the tool looks like now:
























Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync is already checked, click Next and then enter your Exchange ActiveSync information in the below page:























Then run the test to see what results you get. Here is a sample failed run below:




























If you read the error above, the problem seems to be a bad login/password. I had purposely typed in the domain wrong to generate an error message.

Once this mistake was corrected, we get have a fully successful test:























Now while this tool is great, I prefer to verify how the end users experience will be with an actual phone.  The release of Windows Phone 7 has made this process even easier.  Instead of deleting your current ActiveSync agreement a Windows Phone 7 will allow you to add multiple Exchange server agreements.

As a matter of fact I’ve had as many as 10 Exchange ActiveSync agreements setup on my phone while I was working on multiple projects:




















Within Exchange there are also PowerShell commands that allow you to test the setup of ActiveSync before your users experience any issues.  The PowerShell command and it’s TechNet explanation are listed below:

  • Test-ActiveSyncConnectivity – Click here for the TechNet explanation and details:

Additionally here is a list of PowerShell commands related to ActiveSync:

Exchange Server 2013 Preview

Name
—-
Clear-ActiveSyncDevice
Export-ActiveSyncLog
Get-ActiveSyncDevice
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceAutoblockThreshold
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceClass
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceStatistics
Get-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Get-ActiveSyncOrganizationSettings
Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
New-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
New-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
New-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
Remove-ActiveSyncDevice
Remove-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Remove-ActiveSyncDeviceClass
Remove-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Remove-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
Set-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Set-ActiveSyncDeviceAutoblockThreshold
Set-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Set-ActiveSyncOrganizationSettings
Set-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory

Exchange Server 2010

Name
—-
Clear-ActiveSyncDevice
Export-ActiveSyncLog
Get-ActiveSyncDevice
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceClass
Get-ActiveSyncDeviceStatistics
Get-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Get-ActiveSyncOrganizationSettings
Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
New-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
New-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
New-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
Remove-ActiveSyncDevice
Remove-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Remove-ActiveSyncDeviceClass
Remove-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Remove-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory
Set-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule
Set-ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy
Set-ActiveSyncOrganizationSettings
Set-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory

Lastly, we now have a Windows Phone 7 emulator as well so that if you don’t have a Windows Phone and would like to simulate this or test ActiveSync, then this is another method.

To setup the Windows Phone 7 emulator, see these links:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/ff402563(v=vs.92).aspx
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/ff402530(v=vs.92).aspx

An advantage of the emulator over the web site is that these tests can be performed internally.  For example, if your traffic flow for ActiveSync is Firewall->TMG->HLB->Exchange 20xx CAS then having an internal method to test would eliminate multiple steps in that flow and allow for a more precise troubleshooting of connectivity issues.

In summary, Microsoft has progressively made the job of the Exchange Admin/Consultant easier when it comes to ActiveSync.  We now have three tools with which to test ActiveSync and Exchange:

  • Windows Phone 7 Emulator
  • Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer
  • Windows Phone 7 (a real phone!)
  • Exchange PowerShell – Test-ActiveSyncConnectivity

There are also emulators for other mobile phone solutions as well:

For the iPhone there is not full IOS emulators out there. Your best option is to either borrow someone’s iPhone or get a cheap iPod Touch from eBay and sync your mail via a wireless connection.

None are as extensive in their ability to test Exchange connectivity as the Microsoft provided ones.  Your best option with these is to get a real device and test with it.

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2 thoughts on “Exchange 20xx and ActiveSync Testing

  1. Thanks 🙂
    Do you maybe know if there are any windows 7 clients (i.e. desktop applications on a Windows 7 PC/laptop) to allow access to an ActiveSync mailbox?

    Ioannis

    • As far as I know, only the emulators can do ActiveSync. Otherwise you are stuck with whatever the client you have is connecting with – MAPI, TCP or RPC. All of that changes in Exchange 2013 with the route of RPC. Thanks.

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