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Intermittent Connections, ETRN, and DNS

Document ID: 2160HQ


For an intermittent connection to the internet to work properly, you either need to have a dialup router (or ISDN router), or you need software, such as Vicom Internet Gateway (available from Vicom), or IPNLink/IPNetRouter (available from Mac Orchard), that will act as a gateway between your intranet and the Internet and will take care of dialing the modem and logging into your provider as necessary. You will also need to arrange with your provider to hold mail bound for your domain when you server is not accessible to the internet (ie. the MX (Mail Exchange) records for your domain should have a secondary entry that points to your provider's mail server) and the provider will need to support the SMTP "ETRN" command (most providers do, but if you are not sure, ask).


The ETRN command is used to notify your provider's mail server to deliver any mail bound for your domain. If your provider does not support ETRN you will need to find out from them how you can start the mail queues on their server to deliver mail to your domain. EIMS can be set to automatically send the ETRN command whenever it connects to a specific mail server. This is useful in order to have EIMS automatically collect mail whenever it sends mail.

To configure EIMS to send the ETRN command when it connects to your ISP to send mail, do the following:

In the "Sending Setup" section of the preferences, create a rule for all mail that does not meet any other rules to "Route Via Host" and then enter your ISP's mail server in the field. For example:

Next, create a rule for your ISP's server (in this example, ""), then specify the desired options and click the "Send ETRN on connect" check box:

Now, whenever EIMS connects to "" to deliver outbound mail, it will also trigger the mail server "" to deliver any mail it is holding for your domain.

If your secondary MX records point to "", all mail that was not delivered directly to your server (mail sent to your domain when your server was not conneted to the Internet) will be delivered.


EIMS requires access to DNS (the Domain Name Service, or the Domain Name System). DNS is handled by Open Transport and must be confgured in the TCP/IP Control Panel. It is beyond the scope of this FAQ to discuss Open Transport or DNS in any detail, but we will touch on it. For more information about Open Transport and DNS, see Apple's web page, and the book "TCP/IP network Administration" by Craig Hunt, published by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., ISBN 0-937175-82-X.


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