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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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TCP/IP Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP/IMAP4)

The offline mailbox access model provides the basic mail access functions that most users need. Using the popular POP3, a user can access her mailbox and retrieve messages so she can read them on her local machine. This model has the advantage of simplicity, but it does not provide many features that are increasingly in demand today, such as keeping track of the status of messages and allowing access from many client devices simultaneously. To provide better control over how mail is accessed and managed, we must use either the online or disconnected access models. IMAP was created to allow these access models to be used; it provides rich functionality and flexibility for the TCP/IP email user. ...

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