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Instructional Laboratory Support - Mechanical Engineering


Information on e-mail protocols

Purdue E-Mail Services


Information on e-mail protocols:  POP3 and IMAP

 

The POP3 and IMAP protocols differ in setup and use and provide different features.  As of April 2011, Mechanical Engineering only support IMAP services on the machine friction.ecn.purdue.edu

POP3:  This protocol allows you to download all of your email from the server (both the message headers as well as the message bodies).   This will allow you to work away from the network for periods of time (while on an airplane or other circumstances where it is not practical to connect to the network).  You can also compose new messages or reply to existing messages offline and send them when you connect again.  When your POP3 client contacts the server to retrieve new messages, it will download the entire mail file including every message header and message body.   If you have a lot of new messages, this process may take a while (and tie up the server so that other people are unable to connect).  Due to this server load, Mechanical Engineering does not support the POP3 protocol.

IMAP:  This protocol in general requires you to be connected to the mail server to access your email.   IMAP differs from POP3 in that when checking mail, only the sender and subject information is downloaded for each message.  When reading unread mail, the server is again contacted to download the specific message. Once downloaded, the message is cached to speed access. This process is quick and only ties up the server for a very short time.  Many mail clients offer a 'cached mode' for IMAP. In this case, during the mail check, a synchronizaion is done between the server and the local machine. Any new mail is downloaded entirely and added to the local cached copy. This mimics some of the features of the POP3 protocol without imposing the significant load on the server.