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Suddenly lost access to web based VPN sites

Posted on 2006-06-05
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Last Modified: 2010-03-19
Greetings:
We have a number of client sites that have a proprietary Web Enabled Application installed.  Some of these sites have public IP addresses, some are on a VPN, some use VNC connections...

As of today we cannot access any of the VPN sites, nor those using the VNC client.  Was there a recent upgrade or op/sys change that is causing this?  For the sake of discusion and to keep things simpler, let's focus on the VPN sites...

I/We did nothing fancy in setting up the client side for these connections.  Everything was done via the Networks Connections wizard...

I'm in a real pickle here, I have NO idea what changed...  If I had 5,000,000 points to award, I would...

Thanks!
Ray L.
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Question by:raylab
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12 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16833432
I guess Murphy lurks again!!!

Within seconds of posting this, one of our techs dropped by to thank me for fixing this problem!!!!

Only, I did NOT fix it, but it is fixed!~!!
I hate it when that happens, now I'll never know what the issue was!

Any thoughts would still be appreciated...

Ray L.
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16833707
There could be numerous reasons for this. The first of course being a break in the Internet connection. VPN's can some times take a little longer to reset themselves (especially some hardware VPN's) than basic browsing.
Another possibility would be the number of connections you are allowing. If the users are connecting to a Windows server VPN you can limit the number or connections or ports in Routing and Remote Access. If there were users that had not properly logged off, thus freeing up their port, they may have had too many ports tied up, blocking other users. Usually there is an idle time out period. Once that is reached the connection is dropped, freeing up the connection for another user.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16834003
-- a break in the Internet connection.
    Web access in general was not affected.  i.e. I was on Experts-Exchange sumitting
    this item while this problem was active...
-- the number of connections you are allowing.
    That is an inbound parameter on the router, right?  These are outbound connections that failed.
I had reset the Cable Modem, Router and Switching Hubs then I rebooted our server.  All out of desparation...  I could see where the Router or Cable Modem may cause this but the resets did not affect it.  At lease not for at least 45 minutes that is...
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16834139
How is your VPN configured ? Are you connecting to a VPN router or to a Windows VPN server or other?

As for the break in the Internet connection, a brief disconnect of 1 or 2 seconds only appears as a slow connection to someone browsing, where as with some VPN's it can cause a reset which may take a while to reconnect, agreed not likely 45 minutes. This depends on the type of VPN connection you are using. If using a Windows VPN you would see the client is disconnected so another reason why this is likely not the case.

Again depending on the type of VPN you are using.........Assumin a Windows VPN Server the number of connections or available ports is set on the Windows VPN server within the Routing and Remote Access Service console, in the "ports" window under your server name. If no ports are available you cannot initiate an outbound connection to the server.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16835309
Unfortuneately I do not know if the VPN is a Router or a Windows VPN: we merely connect our web browser to the IP address given by the customer's IT contact.  They establish and maintain the VPN Server side...  Seeing as we are the 'client' connecting to their 'server' I doubted that a temporary break in the Internet connection on our side would cause all of this.  Once our Internet connection came back, if it did break, we should have been able to re-connect immediately.  Perhaps one of the VPN servers was locked because one of our clients was attached when it broke, but I tried a number of them, totally different sites, totally different servers, etc.

I don't think the number of ports available is an issue for the same reasons given above...

Ray L.
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LVL 78

Accepted Solution

by:
Rob Williams earned 2000 total points
ID: 16835405
Ray I would suggest you contact whomever maintains the VPN. The problem could well be on their end, or at least they would have a better understanding as to the configuration. It is very difficult to diagnose if we do not even know how the VPN is set up. Also, I question if it is actually a VPN, but perhaps rather a secure/SSL web connection if you are connecting simply with a web browser. A VPN connection usually involves a VPN router at either site, or you have to initiate a connection by starting a VPN client, and then connecting your application.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16835522
Ok, a little clarification:  We DO start a VPN client on our side and connect to the VPN server on their side.  However I do not know if they are using VPN Routers or Windows VPN Servers.  The last point to make is that there are multiple, totally independant sites, each with their own VPN Server AND, they all came back at the same once!!!  I am sure that there was someting with Our Router, Cable Modem, Server or IPS, but I just don't have any idea what!

So with that, I will close this out and award the points to RobWill as you made a sincere effort to aid and assist.  Unfortuneately, I was unable to provide enough insightfull data to help you to help me...

Thanks sincerely!
Ray L.
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16836024
Thanks Ray.
So your site connects to multiple sites using a VPN client ?? I you were unable to connect to any, then it does sound like your site.  If so do you know what the client is? You may be able to find out by opening Network Connections and looking for a "virtual" VPN adapter. It might be called Virtual network adapter, Safenet Client, Cisco client, or similar. That would help to identify the type of VPN. When connected you probably have an icon on the task bar (lower right) which you could right click on and possibly find out more.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16836170
We were not able to connect to ANY VPN sites, only those accessed with a straight Public IP Address via IE.  All of the VPN clients were created using eht Network Connections wizard, thus they all come up as WAN Miniport PPTP by default...
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LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16842240
Very odd. All were using the basic Windows VPN. Is there any chance connecting equipment was re-booted, such as the router or if using NAT RRAS server ? I am afraid I can't see the common denominator. I assume there are multiple PC's connecting.
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Author Comment

by:raylab
ID: 16844345
Keep in mind that each piece of equipment we were connecting to were separate PC's at separate sites owned by totally un-related customers.  AND: while all this was happening, I shutdown my network connection,DIALED out to my private ISP (Earthlink), established a DUN connection then was able to connect to the very same VPNs.  After disconnecting the DUN and re-enabling my IP network, I was still unable to connect to the VPNs.  Now all is well...  Go figure.   I cannot find a common denominator with any strength either, EXCEPT: today we lost our broadband provider twice (COX) and yesterday sometime before all this started occuring our network connection was very slow for appr. 20 minutes...  Related?  Who knows...

Well, maybe next time it will fail solid so I can take my time troubleshooting, and just maybe it will be on a rainy weekend when no co-workers need the net and I have nothing else to do...

Then there's that bunny rabbit...

Thanks again!
0
 
LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16844809
Good luck with it. Much easier to fix things that are broken than fickle isn't it.
Cheers.
--Rob
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