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Losing mappings/printers on Netware env. workstations

Posted on 1998-03-12
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I have 3- 4.10 servers (one tree), 1- 3.12 and 1- 3.11 Novell server at one site.  There are about 350 users whose workstations are dropping mapping and capture commands several times throughout the day.  Workstations are either NT 4.0 or Win 3.1 with the latest Intranetware clients installed.  We've checked for viruses  (Mcafee) and only select groups (containers) are losing connectivity.  These users are connecting to the 4.10 servers.  No major changes have been made other than upgrading the virus s/w version and client s/w.  Problems appear to be intermittent between containers and users.  Servers are not maxed out with utilization nor are there are errors with the packets being received.
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Question by:drodey
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Expert Comment

by:tbarsch
ID: 1591957
There is a confirmed bug with Client 2.20.  It seems to drop server connections at will.   I cannot find the TID on Novell's site, but the patch is called 95220I1.exe.  You can find it on support.novell.com (using file finder) or send me an e-mail and I'll send you the file.  The patch is small, only containing 6 files...

tbarsch@xlconnect.com
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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 1591958
I am unable to find any file on the Novell web site starting with "95" nor could I find the TID stating the bug in the intranetware client.  

In addition, the problem of losing connections also occurs on Dos/Win 3.1 machines which are using VLMs v 1.20.
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Expert Comment

by:paulnic
ID: 1591959
What patch level are the 4.10 servers running?

Any possibility of different infrastructure (hubs/switches/routers, etc.) between the clients and the 4.10 servers, possibly with a flakey device?

Have you seen if it happens when a client *doesn't* load the virus checker?

The file tbarsch mentioned is available as 95220i1.exe (that's an "eye" and a "one," and the search is case sensitive).  This patch fixes a bug with Win95, Word 97 and the 2.20 Intranetware client, which combo you may not have.  The TID is #2929518.


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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 1591960
Patch level is 410PT7 on the 4.10 servers.

I just upgraded the NIC drivers on all 4.10 servers and replaced the patch cords for the servers.

I've tried the workstation test without Mcafee but same results.  

All the users are not on the same hub.  They are scattered across 3 or 4 other hubs, of which other users are connecting without problems.  If anything, it might be the actual ports on the hubs.  BTW, the hubs connecting the network are 3COM (24 port mini-hubs), 3COM Lanplex 2500 and 2 old Cabletron MMAC hubs, all connected via dual FDDI rings.
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paulnic earned 100 total points
ID: 1591961
Has performance been normal except for the disconnects?  No slowdowns that might suggest heavy packet traffic, no extra-busy activity lights on certain hub ports?

Do any of the hubs have some level of packet and error statistics you can monitor per port?

If it keeps up you may want to set a Lanalyzer or other packet tracer/decoder to watch the IPX conversations when workstations disconnect.  There may even be some freeware utils available if you need a Lanalyzer or Sniffer inexpensively.

This assumes the disconnects recur more or less frequently.  

Depending on how many devices are translating FDDI to Ethernet, you might try temporarily bypassing one at a time.  If you can toss a 10BT NIC into one 4.1 server, and wire it directly to a hubful or two of users, and they stay solidly connected on the new segment, you may be able to suspect the (somewhat complex) FDDI-to-Enet bridging/translation.
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Author Comment

by:drodey
ID: 1591962
So far, I've determined that the watchdog packets are not returning to the server from the workstation.  To keep the workstation connections going, I've just increased the watchdog time to about 5 days.  Anybody logged in longer than that needs to reboot anyway.

It does appear that this is a faulty piece of hardware.  It could be one of the hubs or the fddi connection to the hub.  Rather than test each one, I'm going to leave it like this since we're going to redo our LAN in the upcoming months.

Thanks to all who helped!
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