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How UW Email Works RRS feed

  • Question

  • Servers, Filters, and Clients

    Incoming email addressed to accounts on the UW central email system is received by the email server and placed in the appropriate inbox. Using a method called IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), a person can view the messages in their inbox and file them in folders on the server, delete unwanted messages, and reply or forward the message to others. POP services, which immediately upload all your messages to your local computer, are also available. Because people at the UW read their email frequently and from various locations throughout the day, the IMAP protocol is particularly appropriate here.

    Both incoming and outgoing email messages are checked by virus and spam filtering programs. If a virus is found in a message, the message is cleaned and a notification is sent to the sender. Messages with very high spam scores (99% or more) are discarded.

    Outgoing email goes from your email program to an SMTP (Simple Message Transfer Protocol) server, which sends the email toward its destination on the Internet.

    Desktop Email Program: When you use Outlook Express, Mozilla Mail, PC-Pine, or other desktop email programs, your program is communicating directly with the email servers.

    WebPine: With WebPine, your browser is interacting with the WebPine Server, which in turn is communicating with the email servers.

    Pine: When you use email on Dante or Homer (which are Unix computers) you are using the Pine email program. Many other Unix computers on campus also run Pine. Usually, you connect to such computers using a terminal session program such as TeraTerm or MacSSH.

    Standards-based Technologies

    The UW Email system is a high quality, high volume system built with current, standards-based technologies. Among the protocols and technologies being used are the following:

    • Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is a method for accessing messages on an email server. Email stored on an IMAP server can be manipulated from a desktop computer at home, a workstation at the office, and a notebook computer while traveling, without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between these computers.
    • Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is used to make the student/faculty/staff directories accessible within email programs such as Pine.
    • Pine email programs were developed by UW's Computing & Communications. Originally designed for inexperienced email users, Pine has evolved to support many advanced features, and an ever-growing number of configuration and personal-preference options. Pine is now available in three versions: Pine for Unix, PC-Pine for Windows, and WebPine for use through Web browsers.
    • Pubcookie is a single sign-on authentication system for Web sites used in MyUW, WebPine, and many other services at the UW. Originally developed here at the UW in 1998, Pubcookie is now being jointly developed with Carnegie Mellon, Wisconsin, and others as an open-source project.
    Other technologies in use in providing email to the UW include SSH, SSL, MIME, POP, and SMTP.

    A Robust Infrastructure

    UW Email technology is designed to be stable, reliable, adaptable as the UW's needs change, and compliant with industry standards. C&C provides a robust email infrastructure that can augment or replace departmental email infrastructure

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007 6:34 AM