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How to avoid 1 BDC per subnet/VLAN?

We currently have six VLANs with perhaps 150 users per VLAN.  We found that if we did NOT put a BDC on any particular VLAN that a server on that VLAN would become the elected Master Browser.  But because it would not receive regular replications (miscellaneous servers would be turned on/off as regular users/developers will do) as a BDC would receive - peoples' network neighborhoods would not populate fully.  Sometimes even the mail server could not be properly found or print services might not be found properly.  The only way to resolve the issue satisfactorily was to put a BDC onto each and every VLAN.  But this is a big Pain in the Butt and not a very elegant solution.  We are considering getting a trunk capable NIC card for a BDC and trunking all VLANs to said server and allowing it to service all the VLANs in this way.  But my question - IS THERE A BETTER WAY?  

A successful answer to this question will tell me how to have one BDC with one IP address successfully and completely service the network browsing needs of multiple VLANs/subnets.  
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mmedwid
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mmedwid
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vbadierCommented:
Did you tried to setup one of always-on computer in each subnet as the master browser of the subnet?
You can do it by the registery :
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameter\MaintainServerList and put this entry to "yes".
Others computers on the same subnet should be "auto" or "no".
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
This looks like a plausable solution.  I'll discuss with my NT staff tomorrow.  Thanks.
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barttCommented:
Mmedwid, Vbadier is right and suggest that you set the parameter for systems which are put down often or sometimes to "NO" because then your are sure that they don't involve in a browser election.

I thin k you should give him the credits

Bartt
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vbadierCommented:
another possible solution is reaplying (all) service pack, in case of you ( or anybody else) touch a component of system. Maybe you already did this?
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
vbadier, I'm not sure I understand your second suggestion.  What would that help - reapplying service packs to 900 machines?  That's a lot of work.  So the benefit would need to be pretty strong.
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vbadierCommented:
You're absolutly right! I meant on all computer on witch you touch to a part of the system (like NIC), especially on domain controler. It was only a suggestion regarding on the fact i believe you already did this each time you maintained any computer.
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Tim HolmanCommented:
I've tried to do just this many times, and failed.
MS say you NEED a domain controller on EACH subnet to enable full population of network neighborhood on all PCs.
To start with, MS never saw domains spreading across multiple subnets, and came out with shoddy things like WINS / Computer Browsing.
How many machines are we talking about here ?
If they were all in the same subnet, you'd only need one PDC to do all this.
As others have said, you could have an NT workstation of Win 9x as a master browser, BUT they're not capable of fulfilling the role of Domain Master Browser, so each machine would only be able to see other machines in its subnets, rather than the list being able to span multiple subnets within the same domain.
I suppose you could trunk everything to the one BDC, but how many subnets have you got here ?
You'd need one interface for each subnet installed on the BDC, which will get very messy.
The one BDC per subnet option is a good idea - it serves logon requests AND gives you cross-subnet browsing.
If you've only got a few clients per subnet (which don't justify a BDC), you need to look at increasing subnet sizes.
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
As I said - at least 150 workstations per subnet.  Are you sure we won't be able to view all machines with just a master broswer hard coded?
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
We're planning to test the hard-coding on the master browser per vbadier.  We'll see if it limits us to only viewing resources on that subnet.
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
Thanks.
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Tim HolmanCommented:
Did it work ?
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Tim HolmanCommented:
Same question again...
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mmedwidAuthor Commented:
The static setting of the BDC was helpful but won't be a solution going forward.   It works but you still have the issue of selecting an admin's computer to be the BDC and then you need to be sure they never turn it off yadayada.  

We tested the Intel NIC which has 802.1Q compatibility and this works great for serving several VLANs.  Much easier.
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