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In the United States, we only have to pay one fee for the amount of time we have a system connected to the Internet because of all the competition here.  In other countries, you get charged by the telephone companies for the connection time and you also get charged by the Internet Service Providers (ISP) for using their dialup lines; these fees are usually billed by the minute and can get very expensive.  Dedicated IP addresses which require dedicated lines/modems are even more expensive than a simple dialup. Using POP3Fido, you can minimize this time.

In order to do this, you need several services from an Internet Service Provider that specializes in Virtual Homing (from companies like Xensei):

  • Register your company domain (e.g. keysolutions.com)
  • Service domain name requests for your domain using their DNS server
  • Use one of their hosts as the mail exchanger (MX) host for your domain
  • Modify sendmail on their MX host so that it will accept mail sent to your users (e.g., kenyee@keysolutions.com)
  • Enable a POP3 server from which your users can retrieve mail

This Virtual Homing does not have to be with the ISP you dial up to. Several companies on the Internet provide the virtual domain with POP3 mail service and will also give you space for a web site for a low monthly fee. If you choose to use this method, you can just get a dialup account and use POP3Fido with a Lotus Notes SMTP MTA or gateway to send and receive Internet mail; no one besides the administrator will be able to tell that you are not on the Internet.

To minimize connection time with the Internet, you will need to write a script for your operating system which will:

  • Dial your local ISP up
  • Run POP3Fido so it can fetch all the mail
  • Wait for the Notes SMTP gateway to send all its mail.  The SMTP gateway should be configured to try sending mail at specific intervals.  You have to stay connected long enough for the SMTP gateway to send its mail.
  • Hang up the connection to the local ISP

The -s option in version 1.00.00 and above of POP3Fido would be used to run it from your operating system's command line; POP3Fido will end once it has fetched the mail for all your users. You would not run POP3Fido automatically as a server add-in.

For Notes servers under Windows 95, this setup is trivial. Choose Settings/Control Panel under the Start Menu. Select Connection Properties.  Click on Connect to the Internet as Needed and set the Disconnect if idle to five minutes.  You have to make sure that your Dial-Up Networking connection works before you do this. Whenever POP3Fido (you do not need to run it using the -s option as described above) checks mail or if the Notes SMTP MTA has to send mail, the Internet connection will be brought up and mail will be transferred; Windows 95 will drop the connection after mail has been transferred.

For Notes servers which are running under NT 4.0, the setup is similiar to Windows 95.  Set up your RAS dialup connection and test it manually. Shut down the RAS connection. Now try connecting to a site that requires the RAS connection (e.g., www.keysolutions.com). After several minutes, NT 4.0 will prompt and ask if it should dial. Turn off the Auto Prompt checkbox; this will allow it to dial without automatically without asking you when the Notes SMTP gateway or POP3Fido have to use the Internet to transfer mail.  The connection will automatically be disconnected when it is idle for a some time (the RAS default is 15 minutes); if you'd like to change the default, run Dial-Up Networking, click on More, and set this value in User Preferences.

Under OS/2, this a bit more difficult since the operating system doesn't automatically start the equivalent of Windows' RAS if it detects an attempt to use the Internet. You would run slipup and slipkill if you are using SLIP for the connection.