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Poor WiFi performance over SonicWall VPN connection in VMware Player on 64-bit Windows 7

Posted on 2013-11-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
I'm thinking the title is a mouthful!!  I have a freshly built 64-bit Windows 7 station with 8GB of RAM.  I've installed VMware Player 6.0.1.  I've installed a 64-bit Windows 7 guest within VMware Player.  It's fully patched.  It's running MS Security Essentials for AV.  Both the host and guest have the Windows Firewall enabled.

Within the guest I've installed the latest SonicWall VPN Client for remote administration.  For segregation purposes, I'm trying to keep this particular remote administration separate from the host machine.  The guest machine has 4GB of RAM allocated to it.  The performance of the guest has been quite good as I've gone through all of the post-installation patching.  Downloads have been responsive.  Executions have been responsive.  I'm able to establish my VPN connection using the SonicWall Client without a problem.

The problems come when I attempt to communicate with the remote network.  I can ping no problem and the response is respectable.  When I attempt to RDP to a remote server, it bounces back and forth between "initializing remote session" and "securing remote session" several times.  Sometimes after 30-60 seconds it will timeout.  Other times it will successfully connect and the RDP window opens, but then I don't get any response within the RDP session at all.  Even after several minutes, the window will remain open, but no clicks are registered.

I then tried installing the SonicWall VPN Client on the host system as a test.  I disconnected the guest station and shut it down.  I'm also able to establish the VPN connection from the host station; however, when I then attempt to RDP to the remote server, the response is perfect.  It's as though there's packet loss or excessive latency from the VMware Player session.  It can't just be WiFi latency through the host station because remember, all of my post-install patching was fine.  I downloaded hundreds of gigs of patches and those were fine.  It's only when I attempt to communicate over the VPN tunnel that the performance of the remote connections is atrocious.

I've tried turning off firewall both at the guest and host level, but that had no impact.  I've tried more memory and less memory for the guest, but that had no impact.  I'm not certain what else I can try.

This is a tough one!  Any ideas out there?
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Question by:SBSIAdmin
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
ID: 39649849
VPN Client software does not seem to play or interact well with VMware Workstation or VMware Player software, I believe it's something todo with the NAT/Host virtual networks which are created.

I'm surprised it works at all, but this is in the VM, and not the host?
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by:diverseit
diverseit earned 250 total points
ID: 39649858
Hi SBSIAdmin,

Do you have access to the SonicWALL? If you do I check the logs when both connect and see if anything pops up. Also, you can run a Packet Capture from the SonicWALL to figure out what the packets are doing?

It seems definitely isolated to the VM guest...I can't image it's the tunnel or the VPN config unless the VM guest is authenticating or mishandling things.

Let me know how it goes!
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Author Comment

by:SBSIAdmin
ID: 39652479
Thanks for the responses!

hanccocka:
Yes, the issue only occurs within the VM guest.  If I launch SonicWALL VPN from the host system, it's works great.

diverseit:
I do have access to the SonicWALL.  I'll see if anything jumps out from the logs.  What is the VMware Guest account and how does that play into it?

Incidentally, I have a second VM guest on this station.  I have another remote access situation that uses the Cisco VPN Client.  That's part of the reason why I opted for a VMware Player solution in the first place.  I didn't want the VPN clients to conflict.  So I created one guest for SonicWALL VPN and a second guest for Cisco VPN.

I can actually have both VPN tunnels up at the same time from the two separate guest sessions, but I only did that for fun.  I don't run that way as a matter of course.

I don't have any issues running Cisco VPN from the VM guest session.  Only SonicWALL VPN has an issue from within the VM guest session.  Maybe I should try connecting to the SonicWALL using the Cisco VPN client??

So right now my solution/workaround is to do my SonicWALL communication from the host station and my Cisco communication from a VM guest session.
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Expert Comment

by:diverseit
ID: 39654411
I was just referencing the VM guest you spoke of before. The tunnel works fine as noted by the host connection...so it seems to be a VM guest related issue as @hanccocka pointed out.
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Expert Comment

by:compdigit44
ID: 39657949
On the problem VM what network mode is the VM running in? If it is running in NAT mode have you tried to switch to Bridged mode.

have you tried to run a packet trace on he client while opening the VPN client to see what the network traffic looks like?
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Author Closing Comment

by:SBSIAdmin
ID: 39690675
I haven't had time to fully work through these suggestions and EE won't let me post a new question until this one is resolved, so I'm resolving without actually having a solution per se.  Thank you very much for the responses.  I will continue to investigate those suggestions as time permits.
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