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Old 02-08-2005, 07:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Reliable Paging Solution for 72xx to replace beepers

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All,

I am looking for a reliable solution for sending alphanumeric pages to multiple 72xx blackberrys. This is for a network management solution which sends pages to devices based on traps/alerts.

I do not want to use email as the internet is not reliable enough and sometimes the bbery service runs behind (the messages must get there quickly).

TAPI is a pain as when I get an alert I need to send it to multiple bbery's so dial the tapi # upload message repeat, etc.

SMS is too expensive on the receive side.

I would love to use email to a pin as this seems very reliable but it seems like this is a bbery to bbery function only and can't be done from a PC.

Any suggestions?


Steve
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lessee... There are several possible solutions. I am sure that the other people who work for the government or mission-critical industries, will chime in about the most reliable solution.

In the meantime, here's a few possibilities to start off:Another idea is to use a combination of BES email and SMS messages (redundancy).
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Is the BES that much more reliable than the web client?

Each unit will receive on average more than 1,000 messages per month so SMS will be very expensive.


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Old 02-08-2005, 08:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh, DEFINITELY! I have been using Mailstreet BES for months, and I can vouch for that. Guaranteed, MUCH more reliable - I'll vouch for that.
(Note: Edit: Not necessarily just Mailstreet. Just about any good Hosted BES will be more reliable than BWC. You have to make your own decision as I am a neutral party.)

BWC is run on a per-carrier basis, and your carrier can have overloaded BWC servers, which means it can fall behind. BES email completely bypasses these overloaded carrier servers, and BES talks directly through the best and fastest BlackBerry servers. BES is RIM's bread and butter, and the government uses BES. The governments demand as-close-to-100%-as-possible reliability for email, and they use BES, and they make sure the BES gateways work at their best performance. The government is RIM's biggest customer!

The worst delays I've seen by my BES was 5 minutes, but that was during a day when BWC was delayed by 1 hour (and that was just during the worst day out of 365 days).

On most days, my BES receives messages in 2-5 seconds, while my BWC receives messages in about 3-10 seconds. Usually almost the same time, but whenever there was a difference in performance, about 98% of the time, BES delivered email much faster than BWC.

On the system administrator end, there is ways for BES to allows for message delivery confirmation. i.e. you know that the message has "landed" on the BlackBerry or not. It is theoretically possible for some programmers can hook into that to automate a phone call or other methods of alerting, if the message have not arrived.
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Old 02-08-2005, 08:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Interesting, does the outsourced BES work as well as an internally hosted one?

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Old 02-08-2005, 08:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In-house BES is even more reliable than outsourced BES, which in turn, is more reliable than BWC.

So if you want the best, use a well-managed in-house BES setup. You must have good networking staff for this.

For your case, I would strongly recommend setting up your own dedicated BES server, and put it behind a reliable redundant Internet connection (two separate Internet connections simultaneously connected). Or even a BES/Exchange server co-located at a really good Tier-1 data center, if you wanted mission-critical reliability.

It depends on which email infrastructure you have. There are BES versions for Lotus Notes and for Exchange. An advantage of this is that it mostly bypasses the Internet email system. Email goes to BES server inside your company -- and then directly sent to RIM's gateways all in one shot using a connection more reliable than email. It's also encrypted and secure all the way from your company to the BlackBerry, which is an advantage if you need this level of security.

This may provide the mission critical performance you need, on par with alphanumeric pagers, considering alphanumeric can have problems of their own too (lost pages, occasional delays, etc).

Outsourced BES is usually best for small companies (i.e. 1 persons to 5 persons). But it sounds like you probably are bigger than this.

Now, if you are using a vastly different infrastructure (i.e. UNIX), you may not be too happy about the limitation of choice of email infrastructure that BES enforces, since you're limited to only the infrastructure that BES supports. (i.e. Exchange, Notes, and Groupwise)

But it is, unquestionably, the most reliable way to push emails to a BlackBerry.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Our mail system is outsourced (POP 3 based) so this would be the only way to go. It would seem that with outsourced BES you get all the benefit of the BES assuming that the mail gets to the outsourced provider?
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You will get most of the reliability benefit of BES, yes. Be mindful of these disadvantages:

(1) You won't have access to the monitoring capabilities (in case you want to write computer programs that monitor whether or not email has "landed" on BlackBerry). If you wanted special monitoring software to make sure emails are delivered on a timely manner.

(2) You are prone to the reliability of the Internet connection between you and the BES provider. Make sure your Internet connection is VERY reliable between you and your hosting provider. Redundancy is highly recommended (two simultaneous connections, with good failover switching)

(3) There can be extra delays caused by hosted BES over non-hosted BES, especially if the hosted BES is overloaded. However, this does not happen very often. As an example, Mailstreet, however, was hit by a computer virus once last year -- some Exchange server worm, I believe. They recovered from that relatively quickly, but it did affect some customers, although not my account. Be mindful of this type of thing, if you don't quite trust Microsoft products. Additional control over firewalls and security patches would be nice.

(4) You have little control over the Hosted BES infrastructure, so you are at their mercy. It is still more reliable than BWC in my experience in the last 9 months I have been with them, but you should be mindful of this.

Don't forget the tradeoffs and disadvantages of using Hosted BES.

You may want to, for example, keep using the POP boxes, but automatically forward a copy of emails to the BES-specific email address (which would be a separate email address than your existing POP3 email addresses). You can use both BWC and BES on the same BlackBerry simultaneously.

Consider these tradeoffs. It's definitely a big improvement over BWC (in 98% of cases), but may not provide alphanumeric-level reliability that a professionally-managed redundantly-connected inhouse BES server may provide...

You don't have to use Mailstreet -- you should shop carefully (and they may or may not be the right choice for your needs) -- I use their name because I'm a user of it.

I'll let others chime in about various alternatives -- if any.
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Old 02-08-2005, 09:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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"which would be a separate email address than your existing POP3 email addresses). You can use both BWC and BES on the same BlackBerry simultaneously. "

Now that is an idea.
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Old 02-09-2005, 04:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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gages:
I strongly advise you to research the Hosted BES FAQ document that I wrote, if you decide to go for offsite BES. It lists all the common BES services (Mailstreet, MyBlueberry, BES4U, etc).

There is always an inherent risk in choosing an offsite BES because you can have limited control, but the good thing is that my experience shows much better reliability for Hosted BES versus BWC.

I have not tested other services, so I cannot vouch for their reliability but you definitely should make a comparision on your own. Things like past history, quality, how long they have been in business, how much experience they have with BES, their quality of Internet connection, ability to use domain names with BES, etc.
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Will do, thanks guys.

Is the path thru the network for a BES to Blackberry communication the same as a pin to pin message?

Steve
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Not quite, but if you do an in-house BES server, then this will become as close as possible to an "email-to-PIN" system since there's a direct Internet connection between BES and RIM, bypassing the Internet email system.

- Cutting out the BWC middleman
- Bypass carrier-specific overloads
- Direct connection between BES server and BlackBerry gateway
- Bypass the Internet email system (if you have inhouse BES)

If you use offsite BES, you have the additional layer of being affected by downstream Internet connection problems between your company and the remote BES server. So that's a weak chain of using hosted BES you should be mindful of. Try to strengthen that link as much as possible (i.e. good ISP, even a redundant connection). It definitely won't be as reliable as PIN, but far more reliable than BWC.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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(If you are forum member CaptnBlackBerry/DrBB, your posts have been moved here to a separate thread in the Suggestions forum. No posts were removed by me, but simply moved over there.)
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