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SonicWall Drops WAN constantly

Posted on 2013-11-14
  • Hardware Firewalls
  • Network Management
  • Networking
  • Routers
  • DNS
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi I have a Sonicwwall TZ215 with built in wireless and a SonicPoint NI attached. I have a single WAN connection from Time Warner (DHCP not Static address). I have a Dell switch plugged into the LAN port of the sonic wall with feeds about 5 LAN devices. The rest of my setup is just iPads and iPhones on the WLAN networks.

I have been having internet drop outs randomly and for different amounts of time now for about a month and it is driving me crazy. The connection will come back on its own and the SW logs don't show anything that jumps out to me. I have tired resetting the SW to factory defaults. I have tried turning off wireless and also tired just using wireless to troubleshoot. My internal network seems to be just fine but no matter what I have tried I still am having this WAN issue.

I at first assumed it was an ISP issue and they have come out several time and replaced everything from splitters to the modem. If I plug a laptop directly into the modem I can run a ping test all day and not have a single drop. Once I plug it back into my SW the problems start back up. If I run a ping test I will have ping timeouts all over the place randomly.  I have also noticed that my point to point VPN with another location seems to stay active during these drops but I cannot access any remote resources.  I have changed DNS servers to Google (8.8.8.8) to rule that out and am still experiencing the problem.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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Question by:bsjoiner
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by:pgm554
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You might want to check duplex settings on the SW and make sure both are set to auto.
Try setting the MTU to a lower setting (1492 for DSL).


If you have a Sonicwall and it is under contract,just have them send you another one and see if that fixes it.
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by:bsjoiner
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Duplex is set to auto and I will try the MTU setting but I am using Time Warner which is not DSL.
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by:carlmd
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If the switch has been replaced lately power it off and on, depending up the type of switch sometimes the mac address is an issue.

Also, I have found that if the switch and LAN port of the Sonicwall are both set to AUTO, sometimes it is an issue. I would set one of them to a fixed rate and duplex, and let the other auto negotiate, and see if that helps.

When you say the internet drops exactly what do you mean? Does dns still work, can you ping google.com, can you telnet somewhere, or is it only from a browser?

Does yoru lan use fixed ip or DHCP? If DHCP where/what is the server you are using.
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by:bsjoiner
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I have power cycled the switch several times and it is still happening.  I changed the LAN port to 100Mbps and will let you know if that fixes it.

When I say the internet drops I mean I cannot connect out and nothing can connect in. Ping does not work and DNS doesn't either.
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by:diverseit
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Hi bsjoiner,

Have you performed any hardening on the SonicWALL?

Have you changed any Flood Protection settings from defaults?

Let me know...thanks!
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by:diverseit
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Also, to set the proper MTU size for cable (which TimeWarner is) or any other type of Internet connection for that matter. Here is an article that explains how to get the correct MTU value: http:/A_12615-Unstable-Slow-Performing-Networks-or-VPNs-just-go-grocery-shopping.htm
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by:masnrock
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When the internet connection goes out, are you able to ping the Sonicwall? You may need to upgrade or downgrade your firmware to the last stable release. I had a problem similar to yours on an older unit (TZ 100), where the firmware was really pounding the Sonicwall's processor. Once I downgraded in that instance, my issues went away pretty quickly.

But definitely check the MTU first, as others have already suggested. What is handling DNS inside of the network? If you have a Windows Server handling DNS, then also make sure to check its DNS forwarders are set properly.
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by:pgm554
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>I would set one of them to a fixed rate and duplex, and let the other auto negotiate, and see if that helps.

Never,ever set one side to auto and the other to a manual hard duplex setting!

You will royally screw things up.

On a switch you will loose packets and the network will come to a crawl.
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by:bsjoiner
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I checked my MTU again and it should be set at 1500 which is what it is set to.

When the internet goes out I can ping the sonic wall and access the web GUI.  I have had it freeze up a few times before but normally I can access it when the internet is out.  I am currently on firmware 5.9.0.1

I am using google DNS 8.8.8.8 for my primary and the ISP DNS server for my secondary.

I called Time Warner yesterday and was able to have the tier 3 tech watch my modem as the internet went in and out.  I have a 15MB down and 1MB up connection and he said he was seeing my upstream using over 3MB and peaking at 5MB at times.  I asked how that was even possible since they are supposed to be throttling my connection and he had no idea.  He said that made sense as the upload was choking out my download.

I unplugged everything from the Sonicwall and turned off wireless except iMac and he said the upload went back to almost nothing.  I have checked everything on my network and cannot imagine what could be causing that.  The internet worked fine for a few hours but started going in and out again last night.  Is it possible that the Sonicwall is doing it?  What is the best way to see my down and upload in realtime on the Sonicwall?
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diverseit earned 167 total points
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I checked my MTU again and it should be set at 1500 which is what it is set to.
I have never seen this to be true. You actually ran the tests as outlined at 1500 without loss? Here is how to properly access your MTU value: http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_12615.html

Upgrade the firmware to 5.9.0.2 (latest - they actually removed 5.9.0.1 as an option due to bug count)

You never answered my questions:
Have you performed any hardening on the SonicWALL?
Have you changed any Flood Protection settings from the defaults?

Particularly with ISPs, they never seem to want to admit fault. And moreover specifically with Time Warner I've seen one of our remote offices suffer immensely with bandwidth chokes (50x5 barely getting 15x5) only to move locations (still having Time Warner with same SonicWALL device AND config) and see dramatic improvement ...almost pristine performance all the while TW L3 techs scratching their heads. Same situation too, direct connect tests proved to be solid. The interesting thing in our case was that the upstream would always perform at nearly max (5Mbps) it was the downstream which always suffered.

Irrespectively, with Time Warner you get what you pay for...they are cheap pieces of toilet paper as far as reliability and quality are concerned....oversold, bloated shared bandwidth.

Thanks!
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by:carlmd
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On the Sonicwall under System -> Diagnostics there are several options that may help you figure out what is using the bandwidth.

Try looking at:  Connections Monitor
 
Also under System -> Packet Monitor

If you start this it can give you throughput tracing.

Use the Help screen to see explanation of the details.
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by:masnrock
masnrock earned 167 total points
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Have you considered monitoring traffic across your network? Maybe suspicious network behavior from one computer. But as I mentioned before, update your firmware first.

An oddball thing you could try is to replace the coaxial cable to your modem. I have seen that oddly help.
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by:pgm554
pgm554 earned 166 total points
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Just remember with a cable modem you have no SLA.

that could be good or bad,just depends.
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by:bsjoiner
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The problem ended up being with Time Warner.  The Motorola Modem that I have a known bug in the firmware even though it is brand new.  After extensive searching on the internet and comparing my modem logs I finally came to this conclusion.  Time Warner refuses to update my firmware because I own my modem and did not lease it from them.  The only option I had was to purchase another modem that I confirmed had the new firmware (with the bugfix).  Once I installed the new modem my problems ceased.  I was truly convinced that it was a SonicWall issue because Time Warner was so admit that everything on their end was perfect.  This was a very difficult issue to troubleshoot and so my initial conclusion may have been a little swayed by the 50+ people that I talked to at Time Warner.
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