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Like any good technophile I picked up a new iPhone 3G on Friday the 11th and the very first thing I did when getting back to the office was to try to get my Exchange Server to do Direct Push. I have had some small frustrations from the wide distribution of documentation on the subject so hopefully this post will save someone some time.
For the sake of simplicity this article will deal with the simple case of:
Frankly if your setup is more complicated than that you probably already know how to do this and aren’t reading this anyway. Moving right along…
This is what you’ll need before you get started:
Direct Push works because the internet is slow. That’s the headline.
Basically the iPhone will make an HTTPS connection to your Exchange Server’s “Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync” virtual folder (most likely on the default web site). It will hold each connection open as long as possible, or until some pre-configured timeouts occur. Should you receive an email during this open connection, Exchange will send notification down to the iPhone which will tell you that you have new mail. Simple as that. The reason it works is because the internet protocols were designed to not receive an instant response from the server when making a request (see “slow” above). Direct Push takes advantage of this extended open connection.
To prevent your battery from draining in 25 minutes flat the chatter on the connection is kept to a minimum. It’s very clever.
Before You Start
If you have a Wi-Fi connection active on the phone it won’t work. Direct Push only works over the air (the 3G connection). This is because the Wi-Fi radio will kill your battery. With Wi-Fi enabled I believe the phone reverts to a pull model, based on observation, but I can’t confirm that.
Is your iPhone’s Wi-Fi off?
Step 1. Router/Firewall Setup
Step 2. Domain Name Setup
Step 3. Exchange 2003 SP2 Setup
Step 4. Configure Your Users
Step 5. Configure IIS
Step 6. Test Your Server Setup
Step 7. Setup your iPhone
That’s it – should be up and running now. Send yourself an email and see.
In my brief time setting this up here are the places where you might come unstuck:
Some of the pages that helped me:
Microsoft – Enterprise firewall configuration for Exchange ActiveSync Direct Push Technology
Exchange Team Blog – Direct Push is just a heartbeat away
Brian M Posey (Exchange MVP) – Microsoft Exchange Direct Push Technology (seems to be broken)
Apple’s less that complete instructions (don’t worry, it’s Apple, it just works! Right?)