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Speeding up Blackberry Internet Service

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

BlackberryLast fall I was able to get a Blackberry for work. Since I have to maintain a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) for our email system it only made sense that I have one too (in my mind anyway).

The BES really only works with Harley email addresses, but it works really well. All Outlook data (email, calendar, contact, note, task items) flows between the desktops and the handhelds instantaneously. New email often arrives on my Blackberry quicker than in Outlook open on my desktop.

The problem I was having was related to Blackberry's Internet Service (BIS). The name is a little deceiving, BIS is actually the product that handles external email synchronization with the handhelds. I have a home email account (my name at this domain) and I wanted to be able to send/receive email for that address on my Blackberry. They have a website all setup for you to do this which was working fine, but it took upwards of 20 minutes to receive email sent to that address.  It basically boiled down to the BIS servers only going and checking for new mail every 15-20 minutes. I looked around online to see if there was a setting you could change to shorten that time and even called Sprint's customer care to talk to somebody (completely useless) about it.

I figured out the only way to get BIS to function as instantaneous as possible was to alert them when new mail arrived and the only way they could know that is if the mail goes to them. When you sign up for BIS you can add your own email addresses and specify the server, username and password needed to fetch the mail. You can also create a new whatever@sprint.blackberry.net address that is linked directly to your handheld. Emails sent to those addresses basically get routed directly to the devices so they show up very quickly. The answer was to create a blackberry.net email address and forward a copy of all my incoming mail to that address. This way the mail still lands in my inbox and BIS gets notified of new email rather than periodically checking for new mail. You can also set the name and from address on the BIS account so mail sent from my Blackberry will look like it came from my personal email account, not the Blackberry one.

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