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You are no longer connected to the network

We are having a problem in our satellite office that I can't quite put my finger on.  Our satellite office computers keep dropping from the network every 5 minutes with an error message in the bottom right corner ...

You are no longer connected to BCR.local. You can continue working normally.

Details: The network is not available. If this is unexpected, check your network connection. You may continue working normally with offline files. Changes to any offline files will be copied back to computers on the netwrok when you synchronize.

We use folder redirection so it might be complaining about that. While this is happening they can still browse the web and other stuff -- just the network resources get dropped and mapped drives disappear.

The satellite office has it's own domain controller so I don't understand why it computers are displaying the "network errors" even if the VPN tunnels drop momentarily.

Our main office is connected to the sattelite office using site-to-site VPN tunnels. Each office has a SonicWall device. The main office has a SonicWall NSA 240 (1 yr old), and the sattelite office has a SonicWall TZ 170 (10 yrs old). We are going to replace the SonicWall TZ 170 soon, but that's not the point. The VPN tunnels only drop for a few seconds and reconnect automatically.

The question is: Why do the computers say the network (BCR) is not available when there is a local Domain Controller? Why is trying to reference Domain Controllers and other resources in our Main Office?
1 Solution
Is the connection issue on a wired connection or wireless?
InfoTechEEAuthor Commented:
Wired. Normal small office (10 people) setup with a single DC/File server.
In Active Directory Sites and Services make sure you have separate Active Directory sites defined for your main office and satellite office, make sure each domain controller is shown in its appropriate site, and make sure all possible workstation and server subnets are assigned to the appropriate site.  Without all this the clients in the satellite office could randomly be trying to use the main office DC as their local server.
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InfoTechEEAuthor Commented:
That's the first thing I checked. The satellite office DC  and Main Office DC are assigned to it's appropriate site and the sites has the appropriate subnets assigned.

The computers in question are receiving their IPs from the DC which is also the local DHCP in the satellite office. Meaning, both the DC and workstations, all have the same IP structure.
Vaseem MohammedCommented:
Did you try using another network port on server NIC? try changing the cable being used.
any issues with drivers?
InfoTechEEAuthor Commented:
I know the issue -- the VPN tunnel between the two offices is unstable and drops every 2-5 min. It then reconnects automatically.

It's just that the message -- You are no longer connected to BCR -- what triggers that?

I'm in the main office, and when I pull my network cable out of my PC it says the same thing...So I'm assuming that message is triggered by the loss of connection to some server. But which server? I'm not convinced it's the DC because the DC wouldn't throw that kind of message (I think). So I  need to get to the root cause of what "server connection loss" would trigger the type of message I initially posted.
What do all the event logs say?  Perhaps something as simple as an IP number conflict with something on the network.
The message you're seeing originates from the Offline Files agent in Windows (presumably XP, as the actual message and Offline FIles implementation is different on Windows Vista and 7).

When you enable Folder Redirection, Windows by default enables Offline Files to sync a copy of the user's redirected folders to their local machine. This allows them to continue working when the network blips and sync their changes when connection is restored.

The fact the connection is lost with 'BCR.local' means the actual server in use for the connection is 'BCR.local'. In other words, the share name is \\BCR.local\<some_share>\<some_path>.

I would therefore assume a DFS namespace of some description is in use for your redirected files. The DFS namespace, in this case, is a domain-based one. It will exist at the root of the domain and is essentially a pointer to one or more actual file servers which host the actual files, the advantage being that should a file server be replaced, you don't have thousands of references to the old file server name sitting around your network. Such situations can be dire to clear up from, so the use of a DFS namespace is a good design element in many cases (at least, I also use them for this reason).

The DFS namespace is probably referring to a file server in your main office, which is why the satellite office loses connection. Either that, or if the namespace has a namespace server in the satellite office, the namespace is not configured correctly, so is not failing over to make use of the local DC for its Active Directory queries.

InfoTechEEAuthor Commented:
Perfect answer. DFS seems to be the issue. Thank you.

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