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General AstraSync Frequently Asked Questions Options
Ben Cwilewicz
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 9:13:28 AM
Rank: Administration
Groups: Administration , AstraSync Staff

Joined: 7/9/2008
Posts: 69
Q: What is AstraSync?
A: AstraSync is a software application for BlackBerry Smartphones that performs two-way over-the-air synchronization of email, calendar and contact data with an ActiveSync server such as Microsoft Exchange 2007, Exchange 2003, MailSite Fusion or Kerio Mail Server 6. It only needs to be installed on the BlackBerry device. As long as the MailServer can handle ActiveSync, no firewall changes need to be made.

Q: How does AstraSync synchronize with Microsoft Exchange or MailSite Fusion?

A: AstraSync implements the Exchange ActiveSync and DirectPush protocols in a similar manner to Windows Mobile and iPhone 3G devices.

Q: Why does AstraSync support Microsoft Exchange, MailSite Fusion, Zimbra and Kerio but not all ActiveSync servers?
A: There are a number of different versions of the ActiveSync protocol. Servers frequently implement part of the ActiveSync protocol, missing expected parts. AstraSync has been fully tested with these leading servers. If you require support for a different server, please contact AstraSync sales.

Q: Does AstraSync support Exchange 2003?
A: Yes, AstraSync 2.1 and higher support Exchange 2003 in addition to the servers supported by previous versions.

Q: Does it work with BES or BIS?
A: AstraSync establishes a direct secure https connection between the BlackBerry Smartphone and the Exchange 2007 or MailSite Fusion server. Customers using AstraSync do not need to purchase a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and are not dependent on the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS).

Q: Is there any advantage to AstraSync over BES or BIS?
A: Customers can realize many benefits by not using the BES or BIS. Costs are dramatically lower since the BES license costs are substantial. Reliability is substantially higher since there are 50% fewer components to fail. Users are more productive since the inbox, calendars and contacts are always 100% in sync and it is no longer necessary to manage a duplicate inbox on the Smartphone.

Q: How does AstraSync impact my data plan?
A: If you have an unlimited data plan then there will be no difference in cost when using AstraSync in place of BES or BIS. AstraSync works with any data plan so you may be able to switch to a lower cost data plan than the BlackBerry Enterprise data plan. If you have a metered data plan then although ActiveSync is an efficient protocol, AstraSync may use more data than BES or BIS. AstraSync can also use Wi-Fi if available so you have the option of not subscribing to a carrier’s data plan at all.

Q: Does AstraSync work with the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software?
A: Yes, AstraSync can work alongside the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. It is important to note that synchronization of Calendars and Contacts between AstraSync and Exchange 2007 or MailSite Fusion is over-the-air, and so these items should not be synchronized using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager as duplication may occur.

Q: Does AstraSync support languages other than English?
A: Not in this version. It will be translated in future versions.

Q: Why does AstraSync use the native BlackBerry Smartphone interfaces for calendar and contact data but not for email?
A: There are legal issues integrating with the native BlackBerry message store, and so it is not possible to ship a version of AstraSync which does this.

Q: Why does AstraSync not use the new message indicator light?
A: There are legal issues integrating with the device's light, and so it is not possible to ship a version of AstraSync which does this.

Q: Does AstraSync synchronize in real-time?
A: If you check the box "Enable DirectPush" in the ActiveSync Sync Settings, server side changes to Email, Calendar and Contacts will be synchronized instantaneously. If DirectPush is not enabled, server side changes will synchronize every 5 minutes. Client-side changes to Calendars and Contacts are synchronized every 30 minutes due to the expense of enumerating those items.

Q: If both Wi-Fi and Cellular data connections are available, which will AstraSync use?
A: AstraSync will use Wi-Fi in preference to the cellular data connection after that option is selected on the Server Options page. This is useful for the initial sync when a large quantity of data is often transferred. Once a Wi-Fi connection can’t be found, AstraSync will no longer look for Wi-Fi, and will turn off this option, as it is an overhead to check both type of data connection every time. Users can check the Wi-Fi option again at any point, and again it will take preference until Wi-Fi cannot be found.

Q: How is AstraSync licensed?
A: AstraSync is licensed by server login credentials. You can move AstraSync to a new device, but a single AstraSync license may only connect to one ActiveSync account.

Q: Where do I report problems?
A: First search the AstraSync forum to see whether your issue has been encountered before: http://forum.astrasync.com. If your issue is new, ask for help by posting the best description you can to the forum under the relevant section.

Q: Why is my battery life shorter than before installing AstraSync?
A: AstraSync has to maintain an open connection to the server to listen for changes. This inevitably leads to the battery draining faster. Our testing has shown that users can expect to get 2 to 3 days life out of their battery even with a busy mailbox and moderate call usage. We will continue to work to to improve battery life in future.

Q: I have a good idea for AstraSync, how do I suggest an enhancement?
A: Please go to the forum: http://forum.astrasync.com/ and look for the "AstraSync Enhancements" section. If your idea is not listed here, please make a new post.

Q: How is AstraSync related to MailSite?
A: AstraSync is a completely separate product from the MailSite Fusion messaging server. Both AstraSync and MailSite Fusion are developed by MailSite Software, Inc.

Q: Will there be future versions of AstraSync?
A: Yes. There are firm plans to address the most commonly requested improvements and to ensure that AstraSync continues to support a wide range of servers and devices.

Q: Does AstraSync encrypt communications with the server?
A: That depends on the options you select both in AstraSync and in the server. There is a "Use SSL" option in the Server Configuration screen. If checked, AstraSync will attempt to make an https connection with the server. You should configure your Exchange or MailSite server to only allow secure connections so that all data will be encrypted.

Q: Why doesn’t AstraSync display HTML messages?
A: AstraSync version 4 and later provides support for HTML.

Q: When newer versions of AstraSync are released, how will I be notified and how will I be able to install them? Will there be an upgrade fee?
A: AstraSync periodically checks for updates, and so you will be notified in the application that there is a newer version available for download. AstraSync is licensed rather than purchased. You are therefore entitled to all upgrades that are released during your subscription period for no additional fee.
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