Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer Gets a Major Upgrade


Long-time readers of The Email Admin should know by now that one of my favorite web-based tools for working with Exchange is Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer. Called RCA by his friends, this web-based tool has made it easy to diagnose client and server problems for years. It’s gone through a couple of iterations, had one major overhaul when Office 365 specific functions were added, and then email admins around the world rejoiced when Microsoft replaced it’s horrible CAPTCHA with a better version. Now, just in time for Christmas, RCA has had another MAJOR upgrade, adding more tabs and much more functionality to this already great tool.

The RCA has always been available at http://testexchangeconnectivity.com and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. However, it has a new name, since this upgrade added tools that definitely take it beyond just Exchange and Office 365’s Exchange functions.  That new name also means it has a new URL,https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/ . Two new tabs have been added. The first includes tests for Lync and Office Communications Server, and the other is a new beta tool called the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer.

The Exchange Server tab has the same tools you’ve been using all along. I think that the wording has been cleaned up just a bit, but I don’t have the old version to compare to. You still have EAS tests, EWS tests, OA tests, and SMTP tests. Nothing new here.

The Office 365 tab has two new tests. The Free/Busy test helps to diagnose issues with one of the most challenging parts of setting up Hybrid Coex, and the Office 365 Lync DNS test will verify that your DNS records are correctly configured for both Lync and Federation.

Here’s what you will find on the Lync/OCS Server tab.

And here’s what’s going on with the Microsoft Connectivity Analyzer tool. This is not as much a tab to run tests from Microsoft’s server as it is a place to download a click-to-run tool that will diagnose problems that could prevent access to Exchange. Three tests are run once you have this tool installed.

  1. Autodiscover
  2. Outlook Anywhere
  3. Single Sign On

Each of these includes the various subtests that would be required to find any issues that could prevent a client from connecting, like DNS, connectivity to the RPC proxy, ADFS functionality, etc. The best thing you can do is run this for yourself to see all the tests it runs. You can also save the detailed results in an HTML file for later reference.

This upgrade is all about adding, and nothing removed. Since Microsoft has been deprecating other tools related to testing, here’s hoping that RCA continues to be developed and enhanced, and that the Connectivity Analyzer beta gets more use and more feedback and quickly evolves into a feature rich release product. You can be sure of two things; the first is that this will continue to be one of my go-to resources. The second is that as new features or updated functionality arrives, I will let you know in a follow up post!

What about you. Do you use the RCA? Have you found anything you like better or that does more? If you’ve got a favourite web-based tool for testing Exchange, share a link and let us know what you think!

 

Written by Casper Manes

I currently work as a Senior Messaging Consultant for one of the premier consulting firms in the world, I cut my teeth on Exchange 5.0, and have worked with every version of Microsoft’s awesome email package since then, as well as MHS, Sendmail, and MailEnable systems. I've written dozens of articles on behalf of my past employers, their partners, and others, and I finally decided to embrace blogging and social media, so please follow me on Twitter @caspermanes if you enjoy my posts.