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Better browsing through a VPN connection

Posted on 2004-04-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
Hi,
I am using a VPN connection into the office succesfully, for the most part.  Mail works, pinging the servers work etc.  But the problem is with browsing the network, using explorer.  I am using xp client and 2000 server and an old netopia router over ADSL.

Now I have become aware from articles on the internet that you need netbios to transmit the browser information over a VPN connection, and for that you generally need a WINS server.  So I set one up on the main server.  And hey presto I could browse!

BUT, it isn't reliable.  When I log on there is often a significant delay in the time taken for me to see the network neighbourhood.  It is around 10 minutes, but varies from low minutes to VPN disconnect timeout.  In that time, I can ping the machines, attach using map network neighbourhood etc, just not browse.  

So I suspect that the WINS info isn't getting to my client PC all that quickly, is there anyway to speed this up?

Further info: I have installed ethereal and looked at the network traffic.  In the period before browsing works I get a lot of requests from my PC (when I hit refresh in explorer) to the server IP asking for "Get Backup List Request" using the "browser" protocol.  These requests are not responded to.  After the network is visible, then I get different info and the request is acknowledged and acted on.

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Question by:obsidiman
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lrmoore earned 500 total points
ID: 10943818
Try putting an entry in an LMHOSTS file for the domain controller. This way, the "browse master" DC will always be in your cache.
Also, XP tries DNS before WINS, so a DNS server would actually help with XP clients.
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Author Comment

by:obsidiman
ID: 10944371
OK, I had an lmhosts, then renamed it out of the way during this process.  However, to be sure I followed your suggestion and I added in the server/ip mapping with a #PRE to a new lmhosts.  I was instantly able to connect to the network when I VPN'd back in.  Twice.  How annoying :-)  Looks like this was it!  Thanks!
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