Before a user can begin sending and receiving email from their BlackBerry device, some configuration must be done on the server side of things. First, the Microsoft Exchange Extensions must be installed. You can accomplish this by selecting Install Microsoft Exchange Extensions from the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Setup program. Once this is complete, you will notice a BlackBerry tab added to the Properties dialog box for each user’s mailbox.

Next, you must launch the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Setup again to install the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Files. After you have installed the BES the rest is actually fairly simple. From the BES management console you just pick the Exchange user from the Global Address list and add them to the BES. Once that’s done, the user must pair the device with the BES. With BES 4.0 you can do it wirelessly, but prior to that it involves hooking the device up to the BlackBerry desktop software via a USB cable.

For the wired activation, the machine has to have Microsoft Outlook installed and you have to set the default Exchange profile to be the userid that you added to the BES. Then when the user connects the device the device will talk to the BES and they will exchange symmetric keys. Once this happens, the device is paired to the BES and all email goes to and from the Exchange server via the BES.

Wireless activation is a bit simpler, basically you generate and mail a password (from the management console) to the user, who activates an enterprise activation application on the device and enters in the information they received (from their regular mail or via telephone) and then the device finds the BES and does the same basic thing. But more slowly.

About Wireless Activation (BlackBerry 4.0 and later)
Wireless activation enables users to quickly begin sending and receiving email using a new handheld device. Once a user initiates the activation program and supplies their corporate email address and activation password, the user is authenticated, security parameters are negotiated, and within a few short minutes, the user can begin using email from the device.

If your BlackBerry device is running software revision 4.0 or later, you can wirelessly activate your handheld on the BES server (if the server is also running the correct software version). Conversely, BlackBerry devices running software prior to this version have to use the BlackBerry Desktop Software to activate their devices, which requires a physical network connection.

You can verify the software version running on your handheld device. From the home screen, select Options and click About. Alternatively, you can see if Enterprise Activation is available from the list of Options.

With wireless activation, a user can activate their device from any location with a supported wireless connection. Once a user has an activation password from an administrator, they can use the enterprise activation program on the handheld. The activation password is a one time thing. It is only required during the activation and cannot be reused afterwards for another activation.

In the next installment of this series, I will show you how to activate a BlackBerry device.

[tags]blackberry,rim,email,network configuration,exchange,prosumer,wireless support[/tags]