Cannot Create Frontend Receive Connector using Exchange 2016 CU2 Admin Center

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I've heard a few people complaining about this on Twitter and social media, so I figured I document it here.

You may find when you create a new Receive Connector using the Exchange Admin Center from an Exchange 2016 CU2 server that you cannot create the new connector as a Frontend Hub Transport role. The option to select the Frontend Transport role is grayed out and defaults to the Hub Transport role.

New receive connector role is grayed out

I've been able to reproduce this bug when the admin account used to create the new receive connector has a mailbox hosted on an Exchange 2016 CU server. If the admin account's mailbox is hosted on Exchange 2013 you can select the Frontend Transport role as expected.

This smells very much like a mailbox anchoring issue, which was supposed to have been reversed in Exchange 2016 CU2.

There are three workaround for this:
  • Create the new receive connector using the Exchange Management Shell (EMS)
  • Create the new receive connector from the Exchange 2013 Admin Center. Note you will need to connect directly to the Exchange 2013 EAC using the Exchange 2013 server's FQDN. For example, https://EX2013.contoso.com/ecp/?exchclientver=15
  • Move the admin account's mailbox to an Exchange 2013 server. Note that this bug will still occur if the admin mailbox is hosted on an Exchange 2010 server.
You can create a new frontend transport receive connector via the Exchange Management Shell using a cmdlet similar to this example:
New-ReceiveConnector -Name 'New Receive Connector' -RemoteIPRanges @('10.0.1.0-10.0.1.255') -Bindings @('0.0.0.0:25') -Usage 'Custom' -Server 'EX16B.contoso.com' -TransportRole 'FrontendTransport' 
I've created a bug for this on Microsoft Connect. Hopefully it will be corrected in Exchange 2016 CU3.

Irritating Side Note:
Why, oh why, does the Exchange Admin Center default to creating a Hub Transport role receive connector in the first place?? 99.99% of all receive connectors created by admins should be Frontend Transport role connectors. This causes much wailing and gnashing of teeth because the new receive connector doesn't function as expected.

In order to change the role to Frontend Transport, run the following cmdlet:
Set-ReceiveConnector "Receive Connector" -TransportRole "FrontendTransport"
FYI - I have an Exchange design change request logged to make the default transport role Frontend Transport, too. <holding breath>