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Name Resolution over VPN

Posted on 2009-04-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a small business with 2 locations. My main location has a SBS 2003 server as my main/only server (DM Controller, DHCP Server, Etc.) with 11 pcs that connect as standard local clients. My remote location has 6 systems which use RDP to a terminal server at my main location secured by vpn. Both locations are connected by VPN through SonicWall TZ170s and in the remote location the SonicWall is the DHCP server. My issue is I can communicate with systems in the other office via TCP/IP but not DNS / NetBios.  What am I missing?
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Question by:drodrigues40
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Expert Comment

by:Chris Dent
ID: 24260004

You mean you can't resolve the names for the PCs?

NetBIOS is perhaps understandable, you would need a WINS server, but DNS should work. Do the clients have a Primary DNS Suffix, or DNS Suffix Search list configured?

Chris
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Rob Williams earned 1000 total points
ID: 24260034
All clients at the remote office need to use only the SBS as their DNS server within their TCP/IP configuration. This can be assigned statically or using DHCP. It is a good idea to also add the SBS as the WINS server (SBS does support WINS) and also the domain suffix to advanced TCP/IP properties under DNS.

Do not add the ISP as an alternate DNS server. Doing so even as a secondary, is a common mistake. Though this works well for name resolution, if the VPN is not available the users have no access to a DNS server and can therefore not browse the Internet. Unfortunately this is normal. The solution is to add an active directory integrated server to the remote site to act as an alternate DNS server, but this is not always possible.

Though the above will address name resolution you still may not be able to browse the remote network unless you add a WINS server locally that is sync'd with the SBS. However, browsing is seldom needed as you are connecting to known resources.
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Author Comment

by:drodrigues40
ID: 24260618
Sorry, I am trying to resolve the names for the PCs as you said Chris. The piece of software I am trying use needs to see the server as a name ( \\servername ) not just TCP/IP.
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Assisted Solution

by:Chris Dent
Chris Dent earned 1000 total points
ID: 24260659

Okay, understandable.

To do that with DNS each client will need to have a DNS Suffix configured. e.g. domain.com if the server is a member of the domain.com domain. Suffixes can be seen by running "ipconfig /all", you're interested in the Primary DNS Suffix and the DNS Suffix Search List. Normally that's something they get on becoming a member of the domain, are they part of the domain?

They will also need to refer to the SBS server for DNS resolution as Rob quite rightly points out.

Chris
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Author Comment

by:drodrigues40
ID: 24260674
RobWill - does this make the information you supplied still relevant?
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 24261101
Yes. As mentioned they need the SBS as their DNS server and the DNS suffix added. Adding the WINS IP can sometimes help as well, though these days we rely primarily on DNS and not NetBIOS.

You could not be in better hands when it comes to DNS than with Chris.
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Author Comment

by:drodrigues40
ID: 24262604
No, I agree (from what he has said so far) and in fact I made the comment questioning the relevance to you as he was posting more info, so not trying to discredit him or look else where.
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Author Comment

by:drodrigues40
ID: 24262651
Yes these computers are part of the domain. Is there anyway to force the domain suffix search from the client?
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 24265289
>>"Is there anyway to force the domain suffix search from the client?"
If the machine is a member of the domain the domain suffix should have already been added. As Chris mentioned you should be able to verify this using   ipconfig /all
However, you can manually add to the client machine under advanced TCP/IP properties, as per the following image:
http://www.lan-2-wan.com/Added%20Images/Blog/DNS.jpg
They will still need to have the SBS as their only DNS server.
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Author Closing Comment

by:drodrigues40
ID: 31575895
Thanks guys I believe I solved this issue. I am also going to post another question that is similar but involves different equipment.
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 24271190
Good to hear. Thanks drodrigues40.
Cheers!
--Rob
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