1. It's not just about latency, though ping times are always a good predictor of the number of issues you may have between a BES and your mail server. We've found that we can tolerate ping times of up to 200ms with a large enough pipe between locations. When a WAN connection between two locations fills up, latency really starts to matter for us with regards to BES/Exchange, but for our locations with a high latency that have a large amount of bandwidth, it seems to work fine (amazingly enough). Grain of salt - we've only done this because we must (for now). I would recommend putting in a local BES for any location where you will see consistent ping times of above 50ms between BES and Exchange...your life will be easier and your users will make less noise.
2. I'm testing out MobileAnalyzer/Monitor right now. So far a nice tool...no bugs to speak of yet, but haven't dug real
deep into the customizable features yet.