Sometimes you have to deliver email messages to a system that does not support SMTP as a transport mechanism. One such example is a fax-gateway server. In this scenario, you can use a foreign connector, which uses the Drop directory to send outbound messages. The Drop directory can be local or shared. As a transport mechanism, it uses file transfer protocols rather than SMTP. In the opposite direction, foreign gateway servers can send messages to the Exchange Server 2016 organization by using the Pickup or Replay directories, as discussed earlier in this course. Correctly formatted email message files that you copy to each directory are submitted for delivery to an Exchange mailbox.
You can create foreign connectors on the mailbox transport service running on the Mailbox server role. You must use the Exchange Management Shell to create and configure a foreign connector.
The following example displays how to create a Foreign connector:
New-ForeignConnector -Name "FaxForeignConnector" -AddressSpaces "X400:c=US;a=Fabrikam;P=Contoso;5" -SourceTransportServers SRV-MBX1,SRV-MBX2
To configure a Drop directory path for a Foreign connector, you should run the following cmdlet:
Set-ForeignConnector "Contoso Foreign Connector" -DropDirectory "C:\Drop Directory"
To check a foreign agent configuration, you should run the Get-ForeignConnector cmdlet.
A delivery agent can also deliver messages from your SMTP Exchange Server environment to a system that does not use the SMTP protocol. Each delivery agent is associated with a delivery agent connector, which queues messages routed to the delivery agent for processing and delivery to the non-SMTP device or system.
Although the foreign connector architecture remains in Exchange Server 2016, it is recommended that you use delivery agents for routing messages to non-SMTP systems whenever possible. The primary reasons for this recommendation include:
- You can use queue management for messages.
- There is no need to manage file transfer to a Drop directory.
- You can verify message delivery.
Note: Typically, delivery agents are produced by third-party companies. By default, Exchange Server 2016 comes with only one delivery agent connector, which is the Text Messaging Delivery Agent connector.