VPN creating traffic while user is not doing anything

I have a user that is permanently based outside the office.  I received an email from him with the following question ....

When I am logged on all day to the VPN the data exchange is constantly ticking over like an electricity meter! Even when I am not sending/receiving data. For example todays activity is as follows:

Duration:             4hr 20min
Sent:                     29Mb
Received:            35Mb

The values have increased by 112kb in the last 2 minutes and I havent done anything bar typing this email.

Apart from the obviou "why are you online all day when you're not doing anything!!!"  Can anybody please help me explain this to him?

Thanks :)
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what sort of vpn client is it?  ipsec or ssl?

an ipsec vpn will act as if the two endpoints are connected on the same network, if your ip range is the same as to whats on your network (i.e your network is 172.0.0.xx and your vpn gives out 172.0.0.xx) then all traffic accross the network will be transmitted over the ipsec link causing the data exchange to tick over.

of its ssl based and you have routed all traffic out the vpn conenction it may well just be that the local services are generating traffic (stuff like checking for updates, syncing with shares), if traffic is not being sent out the vpn as a default route then it can still be something trying to talk to a IP on your network.

what sort of connection you using? tcp/udp? from my experiance UDP has a tendancy to timeout, it might be worth checking your keep alive values? also are there any errors in the vpn logs? stull like re-establishing connection?

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