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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
      9  TCP/IP Key Applications and Application Protocols
           9  TCP/IP File and Message Transfer Applications and Protocols (FTP, TFTP, Electronic Mail, USENET, HTTP/WWW, Gopher)
                9  TCP/IP Electronic Mail System: Concepts and Protocols (RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, POP3, IMAP)
                     9  TCP/IP Electronic Mail Access and Retrieval Protocols and Methods

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IMAP Selected State: Message Manipulation Process and Commands
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TCP/IP Direct Server Electronic Mail Access
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Other TCP/IP Electronic Mail Access and Retrieval Methods

The Post Office Protocol (POP3) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP4) are the two most common protocols employed for TCP/IP e-mail access and retrieval. The majority of people using e-mail today choose the simplicity and universal acceptance of POP3, while a growing number opt for the power and flexibility of IMAP4. There are, however, some that choose “alternative” ways of accessing e-mail, two of which I feel are worth a closer look.

Both of the methods described in this section are based on the “online” e-mail access model, but they are a study in contrasts in terms of their role in the e-mail system and how they are used. The first is what I call direct server access, and describes several ways that mailboxes are accessed without the use of special remote access protocols like POP and IMAP. The second is e-mail access using a World Wide Web browser. This is the newest e-mail access method, and is growing in popularity every year.

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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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